Big victories can change the course of a season, and Marist may have found theirs. The Marist Women’s Soccer team played with intensity and toughness in a 2-1 victory over the Iona Gaels on Saturday night in front of a rowdy Tenney Stadium crowd for their first win of MAAC play.
“The biggest thing for us is the journey and the process,” Marist head coach Brittany Kolmel said. “We came out extremely strong, and it feels good to hold on to a lead.”
Marist played like a desperate team in the opening minutes, as they were aggressive and winning duels. Senior defender Samantha Sturno set the tone for the Red Foxes, as she was able to win the ball back quickly and start the attack. The backline for Marist was excellent in the opening half, as they kept Iona’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Kedarjah Lewis, in check.
“We had a long time away from home, so we were super excited to be back at Tenney,” junior midfielder Amanda Caldarelli said.
The Red Foxes found the breakthrough goal in the 23rd minute on a long shot from fifth-year forward Nicole Colantuono. Freshman midfielder Olivia Lindsay won the ball in the middle of the field and found Colantuono on the wing, who fired a shot over the outstretched arms of Iona graduate student goalkeeper Emma Havrilla. The goal was Colantuono’s fourth of the season, which now leads the Red Foxes.
Marist continued their momentum, and their offense found its groove as the half progressed. The Caldarelli sisters connected in the 31st minute for the second goal of the game. Junior defender Samantha Caldarelli dribbled past two defenders before finding her sister, Amanda Caldarelli, in the middle of the field.
Caldarelli took a touch and fired a powerful strike past Havrilla for her second goal of the season, bringing the crowd to their feet once again. The Red Foxes would finish the half up 2-0.
“We are doing a good job in the scoring department, and I’m proud of the collective effort we showed,” Kolmel said.
Marist came out flat in the second half, and Iona was able to capitalize early. Sturno gave up a penalty in the 59th minute on a challenge in the box on Iona senior forward Samantha Hogan. Junior midfielder Emily Drake stepped up and slotted home the penalty, as Marist graduate student goalkeeper Natalie Kelchner guessed the wrong way.
The Red Foxes responded well following the goal, but they were unable to convert their chances. Junior forward Bridget Dudziec had a shot saved by Iona’s reserve goalkeeper Caroline Scott.
In the 59th minute, Samantha Caldarelli went down with a lower leg injury following a challenge. Caldarelli was helped off the field, and she sat on the trainer’s table for the remainder of the game. Marist was able to gather themselves following the injury, as they kept the Iona offense at bay.
“As a team, we win and lose together, so I think everyone will step up moving forward,” Caldarelli said.
Iona only registered four shots on goal in the game, with Kelchner only having to make a total of three saves. Kelchner punched away a free-kick in the 88th minute to secure the Red Foxes’ first MAAC win of the season.
Marist improves to 3-3-4 on the season and 1-2-1 in MAAC play. The Red Foxes showed the formula for how they can be successful this season, which is to contain the other team’s best player and have their talented offensive players contribute in the final third. This win could be a momentum shifter as the season progresses.
“It’s a great stepping stone to get our first conference win,” Kolmel said. “If we show character, we can compete with everybody.”
Marist will look to continue their momentum and get revenge from the MAAC tournament loss last season, when they host Quinnipiac on Wednesday, October 5 at 7 P.M.
Edited by Christian De Block
Photos from Marist Athletics