Marist Water Polo traveled down to Lexington, VA to face three MAAC opponents. The weekend slate consisted of games against Villanova and VMI on Saturday and a matchup against La Salle on Sunday.
Marist dominated play on Saturday, downing Villanova 10-4 and VMI 19-7. On Sunday, Marist prevailed in a tight game against La Salle 14-10. The win streak is now at nine games for the Red Foxes.
The action kicked off with an early start at 8 a.m. against Villanova. Marist got the scoring started with an inside goal from sophomore center Ella Baumgarten. The Red Foxes pressed their early advantage, netting goals from Kaylee Brard, Viktoria Orlova, and Shinae Carrington to build a 4-0 lead late in the first.
Villanova got itself on the board with under two minutes left when freshman center Ella Mattocks scored a no-look goal.
None other than graduate utility Viktoria Orlova scored the first goal of the second quarter, extending the Marist lead to 5-1 with 3:30 left.
With less than a minute left, freshman Paige Neagle scored a no-look goal of her own, and Marist began to separate themselves with the first half ending in a 6-1 lead for the Red Foxes.
Goalie Inés Sanchez anchored the Marist defense with four saves, including a save from a penalty shot. Villanova garnered only 5 shots on goal because of Marist’s aggressive, smothering defense. There were little to no opportunities inside for the Wildcats, and they were forced to take low-angle, perimeter shots.
The Wildcats began the scoring in period three with a tip-in from the team’s top scorer, junior Stella Byles.
Carrington quickly responded with a break-away goal and Baumgarten added to her tally, with Marist up 8-2 halfway through the period.
Baumgarten made it a hat trick with another goal off a pass by Victoria Padilla. Marist was in cruise control, up seven with two minutes left in the period.
On several occasions, the Red Foxes extended their defense and forced shot clock violations. They played extremely physical inside and made Villanova earn every pass and quality shot on goal.
Byles scored the first power-play goal of the game with 6:41 remaining. Marist again wasted no time with freshman attacker Lela McCarroll adding to the score sheet.
Sophomore center Emily Mackenzie got one back for Villanova with 3:24 left in the game but Marist continued its defensive master class, and the game ended with a 10-4 victory for the Red Foxes.
In game two against VMI, Ella Baumgarten put Marist on the board in the first 40 seconds. Orlova quickly scored in transition before Baumgarten put Marist up three in under two minutes. Senior Fallon Burnworth scored a breakaway goal after a full pool pass from goalie Inés Sanchez.
Sophomore Liana Hunt finished a penalty shot and Marist was on pace to score 40 goals.
The Red Foxes added tallies by Lela McCarroll, Claudia Lee, Kaylee Brard, and Lauren Kwan and led 9-0 at the end of a mightily impressive period one.
The Red Foxes were in control, with freshman Sadie Smith putting one in before half and the Red Foxes led 11-3. The offense for Marist was efficient, shooting at a 65 percent clip.
Marist never looked back after its dominant start. Thirteen Marist players recorded a point and finished 19-for-30 shooting. VMI was held to 7-for-24 shooting, and Marist won its eighth straight in dominant fashion.
In the final game of the weekend, Marist outlasted La Salle and came out on top 14-10 in its most challenging matchup of the three.
The Explorers opened the scoring with a power-play goal by senior attacker Shanna Zuanich. Marist quickly responded with their own goal with an extra man by junior utility Kaylee Brard. Baumgarten opened her account with a score just past the 4-minute mark, and Viktoria Orlova nailed a penalty shot as the Red Foxes would lead 4-2 after the first period.
Opening the second quarter, La Salle scored from a long shot by sophomore Tatum Lomax. Sophomore attacker Francesca Co tied the game at four with a penalty shot.
La Salle matched the physicality of the Red Foxes in the first half and slowed down Marist’s offense, forcing it into tough shots.
After a missed breakaway opportunity from Baumgarten, Lomax scored again to give the Explorers a lead with under two minutes left. Marist tied the game with a power-play goal from Shinae Carrington.
In the final seconds, Brard buried a long-range snipe to give Marist a 6-5 lead at halftime.
Brard scored again to open the second half, with Marist on the power-play. The Red Foxes tightened the screws on defense, and La Salle had zero good looks offensively. Sophomore utility Victoria Padilla went on a two-goal run and extended the lead to 9-5. La Salle got one back with 30 seconds left with Koerper getting her second of the day.
To open the last period, Co scored in the first 20 seconds to close Marist’s lead to 9-7. Orlova squeaked a shot by Gurasich off a power-play to push the lead back to three and Shinae Carrington followed that with a fantastic twisting goal.
Just when Marist felt they were in control, Koerper completed her hat trick with a power-play finish.
Head coach Chris Vidale took a timeout with five minutes to go, knowing the Red Foxes needed to regroup to finish the game.
Orlova scored right out of the timeout, notching her third of the game. Lomax scored another power-play goal off a huge deflection, but Orlova scored again. Marist was now up 13-9 with four minutes remaining. Sophomore Rachel Dean converted a long-range goal to put the Red Foxes up five.
Francesca Co unleashed a rocket for a goal from 10 meters out, but it was too little too late for the Explorers with under two minutes left.
Marist did not take advantage of the power play, going 2-for-10, but shot 64 percent overall. Inés Sanchez recorded eight saves in the net. Orlova led the Red Foxes in scoring with four points. Co and Lomax each scored three goals and added one assist for the Explorers.
Marist will look to carry this momentum into two key games, first facing 17th-ranked Wagner College at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 7. Then on Saturday at 9 a.m., the Red Foxes face 24th-ranked Long Island University, who knocked out Marist last season in the MAAC tournament.
The Red Foxes lost both matchups against Wagner last year, including a senior day defeat.
This season, Wagner is also undefeated in conference play at 7-0 and LIU sits at 6-1.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane
Photo from Marist Athletics via Stockton Photo