There’s a price to pay for success, and the Marist mens soccer team found that out the hard way after their 2021 MAAC Championship; two of their key players left the program in pursuit of better opportunities afforded to them in large part due to their successes with the team.
On April 3, 2022, midfielder and defender Antek Sienkiel announced via Instagram he would be transferring to St. John’s University of the Big East conference. Throughout his Marist career, he appeared 38 times, starting every game except for one and totaling two goals and four assists.
He also had a strong defensive presence for the Red Foxes, winning the ball off opponents, and shifting the play to the attack. In the 2021-2022 season, Sienkiel was named Second Team All-MAAC.
“I wanted something different, more of an athletic aspect and to go to a place where I have more of a chance of going pro,” Sienkiel said when asked about transferring after playing for the Red Foxes for three years.
“Sienkiel instantly became a catalyst for the Johnnies attack this fall,” a press release on the St. John’s athletics website said. The numbers certainly back this sentiment up, as he totaled two assists and led the team with seven goals in his 17 appearances– tied for fourth in the Big East. Most notably, Sienkiel recorded a hat trick against Lehigh University during a 5-0 win, a feat that had not been accomplished for the program since 2004.
Along with teammate Brandon Knapp, Sienkiel was named to the All-Big East Second team.
Despite this success, after losing 5-1 to Marquette, St. John’s failed to qualify for a Big East Tournament berth, finishing the season 4-8-5 overall and 2-4-4 in the league.
Sienkiel’s clinical abilities have drastically improved since transferring, as 0.611% of his total shots were shots on goal (SOG), compared to a 0.423% at Marist. Despite taking 37 shots, he had failed to score in his final season at Marist; this year, he was far more successful in finishing off his opportunities.
A day after Sienkiel’s announcement, midfielder Stefan Copetti announced that he too would be transferring, with Copetti deciding on the University of Maryland, a team in the Big 10 conference. Maryland also happens to be the alma mater of his father, Jack Copetti, who received First Team All-ACC accolades in his final three years at Maryland.
Copetti was named Third Team All-Region by United Coaches and First Team All-MAAC in the 2021-2022 season. In addition to providing three assists, Copetti was the Red Foxes’s leading goal scorer with a total of nine goals. He appeared 41 times and was a regular starter during the two years the Red Foxes were able to compete during his time at Marist.
“I have always had aspirations of playing professionally,” Copetti said after announcing his intentions to transfer, echoing the sentiments of Sienkiel. “I am excited to be competing in one of the best conferences.”
Early this season with Maryland, Copetti’s appearances came from off of the bench. This changed when Copetti was inserted into the starting lineup for the team’s final five conference games, as well as the Big 10 quarterfinals and semifinals. Although Copetti appeared in seventeen matches, he was featured in just over half of the team’s game time, a significant decrease from his playing time at Marist.
Despite playing a lesser amount of minutes, Copetti still managed to finish tied for the team lead in goals scored with five, including two game-winners. Against Indiana, Copetti headed the ball in the back of the net to tie the game up 1-1, securing for the Terps their first Big 10 regular season title since 2016.
For this goal and another score against Delaware, Copetti was named Maryland’s Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week and Big 10 Offensive Player of the Week. His improvement this season was noticeable, as he also became more effective in finishing off shots, posting a 0.568 SOG percentage compared to 0.416% at Marist.
After falling 2-1 to Indiana in the Big 10 semifinals, Copetti and the Terps will look to prepare for the NCAA tournament.
Both players are redshirting from the COVID year and will have one more year of eligibility left as a result; they will both look to continue on their upward trajectories.
Edited by Isabella Cicinelli and Luke Sassa
Photo from Bridget Reilly