Marist Wins Overtime Thriller Against Monmouth on Senior Day

In their final game of the regular season, Marist Men’s Lacrosse put on quite a spectacle in front of their home crowd, defeating the Monmouth Hawks 9-8 in overtime. 

In doing so, Marist (7-7, 5-1 MAAC) won their fourth consecutive victory and finished tied atop the conference standings with St. Bonaventure as they head into the MAAC championships, with the Bonnies receiving the tiebreaker due to their head-to-head victory against Marist earlier this season.

It was a bittersweet afternoon for the team and its fans, as the team’s 12 seniors were honored in a heartwarming pregame Senior Day ceremony and recognized for their achievements both on and off the field. At the conclusion of the ceremony, all 12 seniors and their families gathered at midfield to pose for a group photo, a group whose accomplishments include winning the 2019 MAAC championship.

Fittingly enough, the first goal of the day was scored by a senior less than a minute into play, as Marist midfielder Jason Intermersoli wrapped around the goal from behind the right post and buried a shot into the back of the net. Monmouth (5-7, 2-4 MAAC) responded soon after when senior attackman Devin Pipher scored on a short-range shot from directly in front of the crease.

Marist retook the lead with another senior score, this time coming from long-stick midfielder Anthony Filipetti, when he scooped up a loose ball and converted it into a goal. Monmouth again drew even only seconds later on a goal from freshman midfielder Luke Cole.

With just under three minutes left in the quarter, a highlight-worthy play unfolded: a number of Red Fox defenders and midfielders descended upon a loose ball that continued to roll upfield, as Monmouth was unable to scoop it up. This eventually resulted in yet another pair of contributions from the senior class, as long-stick midfielder JT Roselle scooped up the loose ball, broke away from the pack, and then assisted senior attackman Jojo Pirreca on a beautiful goal.

Marist’s momentum was further accentuated by another Pirreca goal with only six seconds remaining in the first quarter. As he drove through a lane on the right side of the goal, he flung a shot seemingly from midair as his body dove towards the ground. He was rewarded for his efforts, as the goal pushed Marist to a 4-2 lead after one.

To start the second, Monmouth cut the deficit to one when fifth-year midfielder David Cormack found the net. Marist restored their two-goal lead less than two minutes later, with Pirreca making his mark yet again by assisting junior midfielder Stephen Bickel on a score.

Monmouth then rattled off two consecutive goals, both scored by senior attackman Cade Stratton, to draw the score even at five with about nine minutes remaining in the half. The score held for over four minutes until Marist retook the lead on senior midfielder Hunter Embury’s tenth goal of the season, putting an exclamation point on a first-half littered with contributions from the seniors on their special day and giving Marist a 6-5 lead.

The action resumed in the third when Stratton notched his third goal of the day after weaving through the defense before firing off a shot from the left side. He further helped to shift momentum to Monmouth’s side with just under four minutes left in the third quarter, assisting freshman attackman Nick Teets on a goal to give the Hawks a 7-6 lead. 

Monmouth padded their lead to two with six minutes remaining in regulation when Pipher assisted junior attackman Connor Macrae on his 22nd goal of the season. This score seemed to spell doom for Marist, as their attack had been stymied throughout the second half and would have to overcome a multiple-goal deficit with only a few minutes remaining.

The Red Foxes did manage to pull to within one with two and a half minutes remaining in the game, as Pirreca scored goal number three on the day from a little more than ten yards in front of the net. He reacted emphatically, pumping his fist in celebration of the team’s first goal of the second half.

Lightning would prove to strike twice, as Pirreca scored again only a minute later from even closer range. His late-game heroics ignited a Red Fox offense that had been listless for almost the entire second half, resulting in an 8-8 score at the end of regulation and sending the game to overtime.

With the momentum on their side, Pirreca conjured up some more magic, scoring for a fifth time with a minute and a half remaining in overtime and clinching a 9-8 Marist victory. For head coach Keegan Wilkinson, it was all about putting one of the team’s most effective players in a position to succeed in the biggest spot.

“Before we’d actually gotten the ball, Jojo Pirreca turned and looked at me and said, ‘gimme the damn ball.’” said Wilkinson. “And when a senior says that in crunch time, you go through your brain on how we’re gonna set it up… When someone that has played in big games and scored big goals for us looks at you with that kind of confidence, you make sure that you’re gonna put them in a position to be successful.”

The win capped off an eventful and emotional afternoon, particularly for the seniors who got to reflect back on their time at Marist. The day was particularly meaningful for senior defender Kyle Stofko, who expressed gratitude for being welcomed into the program with open arms after spending his first two years playing for Wagner College.

“I wholeheartedly believe that this is the best place I have ever been,” said Stofko. “The people here are unbelievable, the coaches are the best coaches, the guys are the best, and that was all just running through my head on senior day, how thankful I was that I chose this place because it’s a special community”

Marist will continue their pursuit of a conference championship with their seniors leading the way, as they are scheduled to play host the MAAC championship semifinal round on Thursday, with the details of the matchup still TBA.

Edited by Jonathan Kinane

Photo from Marist Athletics

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