Big Red Spoils Marist’s Home Opener

Marist Women’s Soccer (0-2-1) was held scoreless for the third time in a row, losing their home opener 2-0 to Cornell (1-0-1) on Thursday night.

The match was Marist Head Coach Nicole Pacapelli’s first at Tenney Stadium and an opportunity to make a statement performance for the next era of the program. However, Cornell played a tight, structured game that limited Marist’s opportunities and allowed them to control much of the game.

“Our non-conference schedule is set up to be hard and help us grow,” said Pacapelli after the loss. “At the end of the day, we’re focusing on the MAAC and trying to grow and get better each game.”

The first action of the game was seen around the ten minute mark when the Big Red began to control possession. 

In the 13th minute, Cornell operated through the middle of the field towards the backline of the Red Foxes when senior midfielder Reagan Pauwels used her footwork to earn some space and then dinked the ball to the top of the box for senior forward captain Ava Laden who put a one-touch finish past Marist senior goalkeeper Kelly Lamberston.

“I thought their midfield was super compact,” said Pacapelli. “Cornell did a really good job getting numbers behind the ball and that made it difficult for us to break them down.”

Cornell’s defensive-minded 4-3-3 formation held particularly strong in the middle of the field throughout the game against Marist’s 4-1-2-1-2.

After the game’s first goal, momentum continued to move in Cornell’s favor including another pass into the box in the 18th minute that Lambertson was able to dive onto. The save was Lambertson’s lone save of the 45 minutes she played.

Around the 20th minute, Marist began seeing more of the ball and attempted to push pace by prioritizing their wings having the ball at their feet to move upfield. Senior forward Grace DiVincenzo found space on the right side and moved the ball up to teammates, but Cornell was quick to shut down Marist’s attack whenever it neared the 18-yard box.

For the rest of the first half, Marist had flashes of possession and good footwork to create space but were unable to truly test Cornell’s sophomore goalkeeper Natalie Medugno. Senior midfielder Amanda Caldarelli had two shots that missed wide in the first half. 

Marist’s only shot on goal came in the 40th minute from junior forward Christina Layden outside the 18-yard box but was knocked down and caught by Medugno.

At halftime, Marist led in total shots, and being down only by one goal, the game still appeared to be in reach.

As she has done for the first two games, Pacapelli switched goalkeepers at the break and sophomore Maddy Catalanotti went between the posts for the second half.

Play resumed with a similar pace, mainly in Cornell’s favor. The Big Red capitalized on their strong possession time in the 55th minute off a set piece. Junior defender Cecily Pokigo launched the ball toward the box from just above the midfield line where it bounced off a Marist head and fell perfectly in stride for senior midfielder Sophie Weeter. With space and time in the box, Weeter made no mistake finding the back of the net putting Cornell up 2-0.

When the 60th minute hit, Marist finally started maintaining the ball and moved it upfield, but they were not able to find a dangerous opportunity or get a shot on target. A few times they got the ball up the wing and put a cross in, but Cornell would clear each opportunity away. The Red Foxes only had one shot in the second half which missed wide.

“They figured out our formation and were winning 50-50 balls,” said graduate student defender Samantha Sturno. “We just have to be stronger in the air and get to those balls quicker.”

The best opportunity in the final third of the game came on a Cornell counterattack in the 68th minute. Senior forward Laken Gallman cut left at the top of the box and curled a shot right into the crossbar. A rebound opportunity also hit the crossbar and the third shot attempt was finally swallowed by Catalanotti.

Cornell outshot Marist 13-4 overall and 6-1 with shots on goal. Through their first three games of the season, Marist has yet to score.

“Obviously it’s a hump, scoring is the hardest part of the game, but we’ve got to figure that out,” said Pacapelli.

The Red Foxes will host Seton Hall on Sunday at 1 p.m., where they will look to overcome their early season scoring struggles.

Edited by: Aidan Lavin

Photo Credit: Brooke Burrows

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