Marist Grabs First Win of Pacapelli Era

This year for Marist women’s soccer is all about flipping the script. After a frustrating preseason, the Red Foxes opened MAAC conference play with a 1-0 victory Saturday over Rider on a night of firsts.

Sophomore forward Anna Maggi’s first career collegiate goal earned Nicole Pacapelli her first win as head coach of the program. And sophomore goalkeeper Maddy Catalanotti stood tall, seizing both her first collegiate win and shutout.

After a disheartening loss to UConn Wednesday, Marist bounced back, playing their most controlled game of the season and avenging last year’s home loss to the Broncs.

Both teams came into the game needing a confidence boost, having faltered offensively to start the season. After an opening five minutes where Rider was on the front foot, Marist’s offense turned on and started creating chances. Grace DiVincenzo got the Red Foxes moving on the right side of the pitch, pushing the Bronc’s defense back to create space. The senior forward shot twice from the top of the box on her left foot, but both attempts sailed high.

DiVincenzo helped the Red Foxes put their first shot on goal in the 15th minute, dropping the ball off for senior midfielder Chance Hendricks. Nifty footwork allowed Hendricks to have a go, but 2022 MAAC Golden Glove winner Ellie Sciancalepore smothered it.

Graduate student defender Samantha Sturno was electric, running up and down the right flank, earning corners for the Red Foxes on offense and goal kicks on defense. Marist won five corners throughout the first half but could not convert on the set-piece opportunities.

Rider’s best opportunity during the first frame came in the 33rd minute after a turnover in the midfield. Graduate student midfielder Chloe Fisher received the ball at the top of the box, turned, and fired off the post. The ball bounced back off Catalanotti and rolled out for a Rider corner.

At halftime, Marist led 9-4 in total shots, 5-3 in corners, 20-9 in throw-ins, and having commanded most of the match, was frustrated to not be in the lead.

Catalanotti returned to the net for the second half, the first time Pacapelli kept one of her goalies in for a full 90 minutes this season.

In the 52nd minute, Rider cleared a cross right to Hendricks in the box, who fired, but Sciancalepore saved it with ease. Marist continued dictating the game’s pace throughout the second half, not allowing Rider a shot until the 75th minute.

The decisive moment came in the 81st minute when senior midfielder Amanda Caldarelli dispatched a long through ball to Maggi. With the reigning Goalkeeper of the Year racing to get back in position, Maggi fired from over 25 yards out and beat Sciancalepore, putting the Red Foxes ahead.

With their first lead of the 2023 season, Marist continued their methodical possession, controlling the pace and thwarting Rider’s attack.

The Broncs’ closest chance to tying the game came after Marist cleared a long ball sent into the box, which fell right for freshman midfielder Ava Ferrie, who shot for the bottom right corner. With 107 seconds left in the match, Catalanotti made no mistake stretching out her arm to push the ball off the post and away, securing three points for the Red Foxes.

It’s an ideal start to MAAC play for Pacapelli & Co., who will finish their non-conference schedule on Wednesday against Bryant, before hosting Saint Peter’s next weekend.

Marist’s confidence will be high coming off a thrilling win where they controlled the game and gained the three points they dropped to Rider last year.

Edited By Jimmy Tsiantoulas

Photo Credit: Kira Crutcher

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