After playing two games on the road to open the season, Marist men’s soccer returned to Poughkeepsie in a rain-soaked environment, squaring off against the University at Albany. Despite the adverse weather conditions, the Red Foxes used some early firepower to overcome the Great Danes 2-1 and notch their second win of the season.
Marist (2-0-1) opened the season with a convincing 2-0 win over Howard University but came into the home opener fresh off of a slightly disappointing 1-1 draw with Colgate, a game in which they squandered a lead in the 88th minute. The Red Foxes would look to quickly turn the page against the winless Albany Great Danes (0-3-1), who entered the match fresh off of a 1-0 loss to Fairfield.
The match almost immediately began with fireworks, as Marist scored in just the second minute of play on a shot from the foot of sophomore forward Richard Morel. His shot, which was made from near the bottom left corner of the 18 while under duress from a couple of defenders closing in on him, ultimately deflected off of the outstretched hands of Albany goalkeeper Shafique Wilson and into the upper middle part of the net.
The goal was Morel’s first of the season and the fourth of the ascendant sophomore’s Marist career. In many ways, this goal was a continuation of Morel’s success from his freshman season, a season that saw him start 18 games for the Red Foxes.
The excitement continued for Marist in the 13th minute, when junior left wing Jared Juleau netted his second score of the season from long range. The play was a shocker, as the Albany goalkeeper was baited into coming out of the net, charging towards the 18. Recognizing this opportunity from his position near the left side, Juleau intercepted and then lifted a shot from far beyond the 18 over the goalkeeper’s head, who was unsuccessful in his attempt to make it back to the goal in time to block the shot.
The score made it two straight games with a goal for Juleau. It’s clear that he will be counted upon to contribute after coming over as a key transfer player from St. John’s University.
“Every time you come to the game you wanna score, right?” said Juleau. “I just wanna do good for the team, do my job, get the goals, and hopefully get the wins too.”
Gameplay continued for a while after the early scores with numerous fruitless possessions for both sides, with slick and rainy conditions playing no small part in making things difficult. The conditions even contributed to a collision in the 23rd minute, and Juleau received a yellow card for his role in the mixup. The scene was filled with palpable tension in the air, as vocal gripes rang out from fans and players alike before play eventually resumed.
The rain only continued to pick up over the balance of the first half, soaking the players and the field and turning Tenney Stadium into a sea of umbrellas. The weather made for some sloppy plays across the board, with each team doing their best not to let the conditions get the better of them.
“It’s the type of game where you just gotta grind it out. It’s not gonna be pretty. It makes it kind of a little bit of a dogfight,” said Marist head coach Matt Viggiano.
The action picked up in the second half with some extracurricular activity from each side, including an intense collision in the Albany offensive third when sophomore defender Tiago Dias fouled graduate student center back German Fuentes of Marist. The drama continued only moments later when a yellow card on Marist senior midfielder Liam Salmon resulted in a penalty kick for Albany in the 58th minute, which senior midfielder Pantelis Panteli successfully converted to get the Great Danes on the board.
Immediately after Albany cut the lead in half, Viggiano loudly encouraged his team to keep at it despite what had just transpired. Sure enough, they continued to attack, with the Red Foxes creating a golden opportunity to add some insurance in the 81st minute when Morel charged into the box on a breakaway.
Despite the great look, the Albany goalkeeper charged forward himself and slid in front of the ball just in time to deflect the shot out of harm’s way. In the end, it wouldn’t matter, as the Red Foxes saw the game to safety.
“Every game’s a battle, it’s a war in Division I… it’s good that they found a way to get a W,” said Viggiano immediately after the win.
The Red Foxes will look to pick up where they left off when they host Florida Atlantic University this Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane