Despite outshooting Navy 17-7, Marist men’s soccer was blanked by the Midshipmen, losing 1-0 after an unlucky bounce and a no-call.
After a lengthy road trip, the Red Foxes (3-3-1, 1-0 MAAC) finally returned home, playing at Tenney Stadium for the first time since August 27th. Marist more than held their own on the road trip, going 2-1-1; the final match of the trip was a 2-1 triumph over Saint Peter’s on Saturday to open conference play.
“There’s teams playing four or five away games the whole year,” said head coach Matt Viggiano. “We’ve already played five [away games.] But, the whole business is it toughens us up and gives us character.”
With one final non-conference game on tap for Marist, they welcomed Navy (3-4-1) to the Hudson Valley. The Midshipmen found themselves coming off of a draw against Loyola (MD), with tonight’s match serving as the final one on a three-game road trip.
From the jump, the team was without standout freshman midfielder Kyle Evans for a second straight match due to an injury. In the 13th minute, Marist junior midfielder Jared Juleau created an opportunity by creeping up the left side and placing an accurate through ball toward junior forward Richard Morel in the middle; Morel was unable to capitalize on the solid look.
“I don’t think Richie’s firing on all cylinders yet,” said Viggiano. “I think he’s obviously coming off of the ACL [injury].”
Navy threatened in the 16th minute with a corner kick that bounced off of Marist goalkeeper Luca Bulfon’s hands, giving them possession. Midshipmen sophomore forward AJ Schuetz wasn’t able to fire off an accurate shot, missing high and right.
Morel took a promising shot from close range on the right side after a solid possession in the 21st minute, but the ball sailed over the crossbar. A beautiful cross two minutes later landed directly in front of Juleau, and he uncorked a decent-looking shot, but Navy junior goalkeeper Piece Holbrook was unfazed and made the save from close range.
The Midshipmen finally broke the ice in the 32nd minute on a beautiful sequence. Senior midfielder Jackson sent a high pass into the crowded middle part of the box, and sophomore forward Andrew Schug emerged from the crowd, jumping into the air and heading the ball over Bulfon to give Navy a 1-0 advantage.
Marist tried to get even in the 36th minute when freshman forward/midfielder Adam Rustami ran up the left side and fired off a medium-range shot, but the ball found the waiting arms of Holbrook.
The most promising look of the half for Marist came with seven minutes remaining. Juleau collected the ball at close range, spun around, and sent an arcing shot toward the right post. The ball deflected off the inside of the post and for a split second appeared as though it might slip in, but it ultimately took an unlucky bounce, rolling back out and out of harm’s way.
“I think we created chances, obviously at the post,” said Viggiano. “It’s our sport at times.”
Early in the second half, Rustami found himself with an open look and a clear lane towards goal. He fired off a strong shot with the left foot, but it was a bit too strong, ultimately sailing over the crossbar.
Marist received another golden opportunity in the 63rd minute when the ball found Juleau in the vicinity of the right post. He launched a high shot to the right, but Holbrook made another clutch save to preserve the Navy lead.
Marist utilized their favorite set piece in the 65th minute on a free-kick opportunity from the left side. The familiar formation saw sophomore midfielder Skyler Cunha line up to the left of the ball while Juleau lined up from the right side; similar to last week’s iteration of this set piece, Cunha took the shot from the formation, but he was unsuccessful at scoring this time around.
An intense sequence unfolded with 16 minutes remaining where a Navy player crashed into the bench after multiple players went for the ball; the sequence ended with a yellow card for senior defender Demarre Monoutue, who already missed the second match of the season due to a red card suspension.
The crowd reacted strongly in the 77th minute when Juleau threaded the ball up to Morel, who was then tripped up the box. To the crowd’s surprise, no foul was called, preventing the Red Foxes from taking a penalty kick.
The 1-0 margin ultimately stood, with the Midshipmen defense standing strong in the closing minutes despite numerous attempts to even the score from the Red Foxes.
“We obviously are talented, we obviously can play, we obviously have a good group. We just need a little bit more,” said Viggiano. “If we do that, then we’re gonna have a real good year.”
Marist will look to turn the page quickly while in the midst of playing three games in eight days; they are set to face Niagara in a home match on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Edited by Marley Pope
Photo Credit: Kira Crutcher