Marist men’s soccer (4-4-3, 2-1-2 MAAC) had not won their previous four matches and got back in the win column Wednesday night with a 1-0 win over Quinnipiac (2-5-3, 0-1-3 MAAC), who was short-handed for all of the second half.
The previous two winners of the MAAC conference faced off in a physical battle under the lights at Tenney Stadium.
Prior to the matchup, both teams placed top four in the MAAC for total fouls and, most recently, the Red Foxes were affected by the whistle losing senior forward Jared Juleau the past two matches due to red card suspension.
Opposite of Juleau, Quinnipiac’s fifth-year forward Brage Aasen would lead the charge for the Bobcats, scoring five goals to start the season– second most in the MAAC.
However, the return of the Red Foxes leading goal scorer and captain into the team’s starting eleven made a clear and quick impact.
“He’s probably our best offensive player, so we needed him back for the depth and leadership,” said Marist head coach Matt Vigiano.
The Red Foxes held possession in the Bobcats half to open the match, resulting in multiple scoring opportunities, with Juleau heavily involved.
Each chance was easily smothered by sophomore goalkeeper Karl Netzel. But in the 16th minute, the Red Foxes first shot on goal got past Netzel.
After a free kick from sophomore midfielder Skyler Cunha, the ball bounced around loosely in front of the Quinnipiac goal and was eventually settled by junior midfielder Jørgen Thue Kristiansen. Kristiansen took a shot from close in the box that found its way through a large scrum and into the back of the net putting Marist up 1-0.
“I saw the ball in the air… then Kyle got a flick on it and there was some bounces around the box. I took a touch and then just shot it and it ended up in a goal, fortunately,” said Kristiansen.
In the 24th minute, one of the game’s twelve total yellow cards was assessed to sophomore midfielder Andrea Nguionza for delay of game and minutes later a free kick slowed Marist’s high paced offense. However, the back line remained strong keeping the Bobcats in check.
The Bobcats earned their first corner of the match in the 35th minute but it was easily cleared away by the Red Foxes. The first half would end with little offense, and Marist held their narrow lead.
Jorgen Thue Kristiansen putting pressure on Quinnipiac
As the second half began, the referee quickly put Quinnipiac at a disadvantage as fifth year midfielder Francisco Ferreira was assessed his second yellow card, resulting in an ejection.
“It makes the game really frantic. It wasn’t overly dirty. It was two highly skilled teams playing and I think, unfortunately sometimes (referees) interject themselves into the game and I kind of felt like he did that tonight,” said Viggiano.
Marist played at a man advantage for the remainder of the match and began to hold possession making it an even taller task for Quinnipiac to overcome the deficit they faced.
The physical play turned chippy in the 57th minute as Marist freshman Nicholas Sanchez ran into Netzel after making a run and proceeded to be shoved by the Quinnipiac keeper. Despite being shoved, it was only Sanchez who would receive a yellow.
A yellow card was even assessed to the Marist coaches box after assistant coach Ricky Cusano was in disbelief by an offsides call.
A second Marist goal was wiped off due to an offsides call. Sophomore Sam Gjokaj headed in a rebound off a corner in the 64th minute before the assistant referee raised his flag.
Late in an incredibly scrappy match, Red Fox freshman midfielder Kyle Evans lost possession to junior midfielder Noe Cabezas and hustled after him to get it back. This led to a Evan’s tackle on the sideline and Cabezas took exception leading to the second Bobcat ejection of the game.
Cabezas put his hands into the face of Evans which sent the freshman to the ground. Marist junior midfielder Bruno Servisi came to the defense of his teammate, flying off the bench and shoving Cabezas, which led to his own ejection.
Freshman midfielder Adam Rustami made a statement on the final play of the match. He pressed the Bobcat keeper at midfield and made a clean slide tackle which was followed by a roar as the buzzer sounded cementing the narrow 1-0 Marist victory.
“We needed three points. Tonight, I explained the reality to the guys before the game, if we lost, they would have jumped us and we would have been out of playoff position. Now we actually separate from the bottom of the MAAC. So it was needed, without a doubt,” said Viggiano.
Marist will look to continue winning ways Saturday, Oct.14 traveling to face Fairfield University. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
Edited By Marley Pope
Photo Credit: Jaylen Rizzo