A tale of two halves. The Marist women’s soccer team dominated the first half, but struggled following the break in a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Rider on Saturday afternoon at Tenney Stadium.
“It’s tough because we created chances and as a coach, I couldn’t have asked for more offensively,” Marist head coach Brittany Kolmel said.
“It’s definitely heartbreaking, but it’s not over yet,” senior Brooke Cergol said.
Marist came out on attack offensively, as they controlled possession and were posing a threat in the final third. Rider got the first quality chance of the game, when senior midfielder Lindsey Maslow fired a shot wide of the net in the 7th minute. Marist responded with a shot from junior forward Bridget Dudziec that was punched away by Rider junior goalkeeper Ellie Sciancalepore. The Broncs goalkeeper entered the match leading the MAAC in saves per game and shutouts.
Senior defender Samantha Sturno and sophomore defender Grace Hennig were excellent for the Red Foxes in the first half, and they made graduate student goalkeeper Natalie Kelchner’s job easy. Marist continued applying pressure on Rider, and they had quality chances later in the half. In the 26th minute, Hennig had a header off the crossbar, which came off a pass from sophomore midfielder Autumn Smith.
“We wanted to switch the point of attack and get more runners in the box,” Kolmel said. “The keeper made some great saves, but overall everything was working.”
Marist had another unlucky chance in the 41st minute, when Cergol had a header to the far post that hit the crossbar. The Red Foxes dominated the half with 14 shots, but were unable to find the back of the net. Marist entered the half tied 0-0.
The Red Foxes came out flat in the second half, which the Broncs were able to take advantage of. Rider started pressing the Marist backline, which caused problems. Maslow had a chance in the 55th minute when she fired a shot off the crossbar. Rider would add another shot in the 61st minute when junior midfielder Hannah Freeman had a shot saved by Kelchner.
“We may have gotten too complacent and too cocky. We thought we had control, and we stayed complacent,” Cergol said.
Rider controlled possession in the half, and they found their breakthrough goal in the 64th minute. Graduate student midfielder Ailis Martin played a through ball to Maslow, who took a touch and placed a shot over the outstretched arms of Kelchner for her team-leading fifth goal of the season.
“We slightly got away from things that were successful, and Rider was able to capitalize on that,” Kolmel said.
Marist tried to respond after the goal, but was unable to get past Sciancalepore. Sophomore midfielder Lauryn Schmidt had a header saved in the 71st minute, and senior forward Leah Barbieri had a shot saved in the 83rd minute. Just minutes later, Cergol had a shot just wide of the right post. The Red Foxes were unlucky throughout the game, and could have had multiple goals. Marist made one last push in the final seconds, but Hennig’s header was saved by Sciancalepore to give Rider the 1-0 victory.
The Red Foxes fall to 4-6-5 on the season and 2-5-2 in conference play. Marist continues its poor run against Rider, as they have lost 10 out of 22 games all-time. Although the loss stings, Marist’s playoff hopes are still alive. With one game remaining, the Red Foxes have to win against Niagara, and would need a loss from Iona to earn a postseason berth. If that happens, Marist could grab the sixth and final seed in the MAAC tournament. The news gives Marist hope, as they know their season is still alive.
“After hearing that Iona news, we are ready to come out on Wednesday,” Cergol said. “We have to know that this is all or nothing.”
“Thankfully, I found out before going into the locker room because that changes the message,” Kolmel said. “This needs to be fuel and motivation because we have a couple days to be able to prepare.”
Marist will look to book a spot in the MAAC tournament when they host Niagara on Wednesday, October 26, at 1 P.M.
Edited by Christian De Block
Photos from Marist Athletics