After falling short to Gonzaga University, Marist men’s soccer (4-1-1) traveled to Smithfield, Rhode Island to face off against Bryant University looking to return to the win column. The Red Foxes were successful in their efforts by securing a 1-0 win over the Bulldogs, who were 3-3-0 going into this game.
From kickoff, Marist asserted their dominance. On attack, they led possession, and advanced into the final third several times in the first five minutes. On defense, they applied high pressure and forced Bryant to make mistakes in their passes, thus regaining possession for the Red Foxes.
This intensity created numerous scoring opportunities for Marist to capitalize on. In the fifth minute, Marist found themselves with the first chance of the game as redshirt senior defender Demarre Montoute took a shot inside the 18-yard box which was saved in the right side of the net by Bryant junior goalkeeper Antreas Hadkigavriel. Other opportunities included an unsuccessful close-range shot across goal from graduate forward Skylar Conway, which was cleared by Bryant sophomore midfielder Cameron Lawrence, and a long range attempt from senior defender Bernardo Gracindo, which deflected against Liam Salmon before going just wide of the right post and out for a Bryant goal kick.
Midway through the half, the game dynamic shifted, with Bryant finding their way into Marist’s defensive third. Fortunately for the Red Foxes, a strong defensive performance only allowed the Bulldogs one shot, which Bryant junior forward Kyle Mabe sent over the bar in the 23rd minute.
Later on in the half, Hadjigavriel saved attempts from sophomore forward Richard Morel and senior defender Henrique Cruz. Entering half time, the scoreline was level at 0-0, but the Red Foxes led in shots 13-1. Marist had almost all of the chances, but nothing to show for it.
Success in the MAAC will require Marist to have a higher conversion rate of shots to goal ratio. This is especially crucial if the Red Foxes hope to secure the league title, as per the new NCAA policies, there is no overtime which will result in more draws.
The action picked up quickly in the second half. Within the first 13 minutes Marist had taken four shots, with graduate forward Hugo Guerrra forcing Hadjigavriel to make a save on one of them. On the other side of the field, Bryant freshman defender Avery Overstreet attempted to give his side the lead, but the shot was not on target.
In the 69th minute, sophomore forward Jared Juleau played the ball in between the Bryant defense and into Guerra, who immediately struck the ball into the back of the net, scoring his first goal for the team and earning Marist a 1-0 lead. To celebrate, the Red Foxes ran to the sideline, hugging their teammates.
With a minute left in the game, Viggiano urged the team to put the ball into the opposition’s corner to protect the lead. Juleau, however, found a shot which Hadjigavriel easily took before booting up field, trying to give his team one last chance at goal as the clock quickly ticked down. A cross from out wide and an easy collect from graduate goalkeeper Sam Ilin marked the end of the game.
The Red Foxes will look to pick up where they left off when they host Cornell University at Tenney Stadium Saturday night at 6 p.m. for their final non-conference matchup before MAAC play.
Edited by Ricardo Martinez-Paz
Photo from Kira Crutcher