The theme of the Marist women’s lacrosse team’s season to this point is encapsulated in one simple word – struggle. To the dismay of the Red Foxes and their fans, that struggle continued in their 15-11 home loss against the Siena Saints.
The team’s main issue entering this game has been their inability to score goals, only scoring ten or more goals in three games, with two of those three being Marist’s only wins of the season. They ended up hitting that mark in this game, a positive sign in an unfortunate loss.
The Saints team entered the game as confident as they could after a thrilling 21-20 win against the Iona Gaels this past Saturday. The Saints hoped to continue their dominant offensive play today as well.
The Red Foxes had a blazing start, scoring on a free-position goal from junior attacker Kerri Gutenberger shortly after the first minute. The team was noticeably jubilant after this goal, both on the field and on the sideline, a showing sign that this gave the team a much-needed boost of confidence after only scoring seven goals in their last outing against Quinnipiac.
This would be Marist’s only lead of the game.
The goal was quickly countered by the reigning USA Lacrosse Magazine Division 1 Women’s Player of the Week, Mary Soures of Siena. She knifed through Marist’s defense for six goals in this game, with five coming in the first half. This comes after Soures scored nine against Iona.
Marist head coach Jessica Wilkinson was still pleased with the way the Red Fox defense played Soures.
“I think defensively we did a very good job with our man-to-man, especially in the second half,” said Wilkinson. “I think that we could do a better job if there was someone hot on the opposing team…send that pressure or help a little sooner.”
While Red Fox senior goalkeeper Chloe Monroe struggled on the stat sheet in her third start, nearly half of her goals allowed came from Soures, and her shots looked unstoppable. On her goals, she had momentum going one way and then snapped her stick in the other direction, firing a missile. She was able to take advantage of every point of the net and at every angle imaginable, making her a chore to contain.
“We knew what we were going against and we got better as it went on,” said Monroe. “It’s really just being patient and waiting for her.”
Even though Siena had their intimidator in Soures, Marist didn’t back down in the first half. They were down 9-6 at halftime, but the second quarter was filled with alternating goals.
This came from their noticeable improvement in volume of shots. They attempted more shots than they have in any loss this season with 29. This is a credit to the upperclassmen of the team, who scored 10 of Marist’s 11 goals in this game. Everyone has to remember that Marist is fielding out a young team (14 underclassmen) in the midst of a rebuild, so they tend to rush their offensive sets. Kelli Gutenberger, Kelly Trotta, Melissa Bucher and Olivia Arntsen all did a great job slowing down the pace and isetting up good looks on goal.
Siena goalkeeper Ally Mervine did a great job trying to stop the Red Foxes from actually scoring on their great looks. By the midway point of the second quarter, the fifth-year senior had already accumulated six saves, which could be enough for a game. Mervine ended the game with eight saves.
The second half is where the game changed dramatically. The Red Foxes reverted back to their season form, not being able to maintain their first half shooting volume. Siena, on the other hand, continued to roll on offense. They extended their lead to as much as six goals in the fourth quarter, solidifying the game in their favor.
This game was played as the Red Foxes’ “Pride Game”, showing the team’s support for the LGBTQ community. Before the game, the Marist crew came out in special pride warmup shirts, designed with the MAAC logo and “PRIDE” outlined in a rainbow font across their backs.
Chloe Monroe is a member of the LGBTQ community and she couldn’t have been more proud to help set this up in coordination with the MAAC Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
“We were coming from a place where we weren’t able to spread much pride because of [the pandemic] and the two years where we couldn’t get behind the cause,” said Monroe. “We want our MAAC play to help drive our motivation and our pride…we are getting behind our pride on our home field.”
Jessica Wilkinson had to hold back tears during the postgame press conference when talking about how proud she was of her players in setting this special day up.
“I know that their lives are so much more complicated than just lacrosse,” said Wilkinson. “To see all of them as young individuals be so strong and so confident in supporting each other, it really makes me feel lucky to be their coach in this environment.”
After the loss, Marist fell to 2-8 with an 0-2 record in the MAAC. This is clearly not how they wanted the season to go, but with only six games remaining on the regular season schedule, there isn’t much time for a turnaround. But as Wilkinson reiterated, this team is confident. Maybe that confidence will translate with wins as the MAAC Tournament looms.
The Red Foxes will return to the Tenney turf on Saturday, April 2nd when they take on the Fairfield Stags at 1 p.m.
Edited by Connor Kurpat
Image by Marist Athletics