As classes begin and Marist students return to campus for the spring semester, here is a recap of some of the key events that happened over the five-week winter break. Basketball season is in full swing, with both Marist teams squarely in the middle of the MAAC standings. Other winter sports like indoor track and water polo are underway and the search for a new womens soccer coach continues.
Men’s Basketball Finding its Stride?
After an 84-57 thumping at the hands of Rick Pitino’s Iona team on Jan. 6, the outlook was bleak for Marist mens basketball. After treading water against one of the easiest non-conference schedules in the country, the Red Foxes lost their first four MAAC games by an average margin of almost 16 points, stumbling to a 4-9 record on the season.
Then, two days after the Iona loss, John Dunne’s team finally got on the board with a home win over Mount St. Mary’s. More impressively, Marist went to Western New York and swept the Buffalo two-step. After beating Canisius by a staggering 18 points, the Red Foxes got 31 points and a game-winning jumper from Patrick Gardner to top Niagara 66-64.
Now Marist finds themselves at 7-9 overall and 3-4 in the MAAC. The Red Foxes have gone from the conference cellar to the middle of the pack, with hopes of clinching a top-five seed and a first-round bye in the MAAC Tournament looking more realistic.
Marist gets a home game with a rebuilding St. Peter’s team followed by a road matchup with Mount St. Mary’s this week. If the Red Foxes find their way through those contests, they will have a five-game winning streak and plenty of positive momentum.
Women’s Hoops Looking to String Some Wins Together
Marist womens basketball has an identical record as the mens team (7-9, 3-4 in the MAAC) yet none of the momentum. The Red Foxes have yet to win consecutive games in conference play and are squarely in the middle of a league filled with its usual parity.
Brian Giorgis’s team squandered a winnable home contest against Fairfield on Saturday night, with the re-emergence of shooting struggles that have plagued the team over the last few seasons. In the 43-34 loss, the Red Foxes held the Stags below 30 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers but still found a way to lose.
Marist has shown signs of progression from last season and is in desperate need of more consistent performances as the postseason approaches. The Red Foxes are too dependent on Zaria Shazer, Kiara Fisher, and Kendall Krick in the scoring department and it can be difficult to score when only three out of the five players on the floor are real offensive threats.
After the Fairfield loss, Giorgis admitted that more players needed to get involved offensively, saying that the team needs to get back to its “bread and butter” — the motion offense. The Red Foxes have the talent to beat any team in the league but they need consistency to be there too.
Water Polo and Indoor Track Seasons Begin
After a tough loss to LIU in the MAAC Tournament last season, Marist water polo began its 2023 campaign with a trip to Hawai’i to face some elite competition as part of the Rainbow Invite in Manoa.
The Red Foxes, ranked 25th in the country, beat No. 20 Loyola Marymount 12-9 in the opening game before falling to No. 13 San Jose and the hosts No. 6 Hawai’i in their next two games. Marist will travel to a decidedly less tropical climate for their next tournament in Bloomington, Indiana.
Following a strong cross country season, mens and womens indoor track registered several impressive finishes at the TCNJ Invitational at the Armory in New York City.
Fresh off serving as a running back for the football team, Glenmour Leonard-Osborne won the 60-meter dash with a time of 6.73 seconds and earned an IC4A qualifying spot. His teammate Amari Mathis wasn’t far behind, finishing sixth running the 60 meters in seven seconds.
Other top-10 finishers included Easton Eberwin in the 500-meter dash (second place) and Kieran Donnelly (sixth) in the 3,000-meter run.
On the women’s side, Raven Stanet and Greta Stuckey both won their heats in the 800-meter dash. Stanet finished fifth with a time of 2:24.86 and Stuckey came in eighth finishing at 2:25.74. In collegiate track debut, Samantha Keller finished seventh in the 3,000-meter run with a time of 10:34.02.
Both teams will compete in the NYC Gotham Cup on Friday.
Cutler Joins National Champion
It was a less-than-ideal season for Marist mens soccer, and one of its key players, Andre Cutler-DeJesus, recently announced on his Instagram that he is transferring to Syracuse University to continue his promising career.
The Orange enjoyed a dream 2022 season, making it all the way through the NCAA Tournament and beating Indiana on penalties to claim the College Cup.
Cutler, a sophomore defender, appeared in 33 games over his two seasons at Marist, making 30 starts. This season, he scored three goals and spent 1119 minutes on the pitch.
Cutler’s departure isn’t the first instance of a Marist mens soccer player getting an opportunity to play at a bigger school. After the 2021 season, the Red Foxes lost Antek Sienkiel to St. John’s and Stefan Copetti to Maryland.
Search Continues for Women’s Soccer Coach
Late in the fall semester, Marist Athletics announced that womens soccer head coach Brittany Kolmel was stepping down for personal reasons. In a press release, the athletic department stated that a “national search for Kolmel’s replacement will begin immediately.”
Per the athletic department, the interview process for a new coach is underway but there is no timeline for a final decision on a candidate.
The next coach will hope to bring stability to a program that has seen its last two coaches (Kolmel and Leigh Howard) not make it past three seasons on the job.
Edited by Luke Sassa and Dan Aulbach
Photo from Marist Athletics