Women’s Soccer Playoff Hopes Stay Alive in Draw Against Iona

Marist women’s soccer snuck away with a point after a 1-1 draw with Iona Wednesday afternoon, narrowly keeping the Red Foxes’ postseason hopes alive.

Marist (2-8-5, 2-4-3 MAAC) came into the matchup with eight points, placing them ninth out of the eleven-team MAAC conference. Luckily for the Red Foxes, just two points separate them and three of the teams currently sitting in playoff spots. 

Playing a struggling Iona squad (1-13-3, 0-5-3 MAAC) gave Marist hope to enter a playoff position, but Iona, despite being outshot 18-9 by Marist, did not make it easy. 

In the 34th minute, the Gaels delivered a slight scare to Marist when sophomore goalkeeper Maddy Catalanotti rushed towards the ball but didn’t get her hands on it. Freshman forward Lauren Sonski tapped it away from her and took a left-footed shot at an open goal. The shot dribbled past a diving Catalanotti, but two-time All-MAAC graduate student defender Samantha Struno was in the right place at the right time and cleared the scoring chance away.

Three minutes later, Sonski received a through ball from freshman midfielder Victoria Ryan and took another shot that went past Catalanotti’s diving efforts but missed wide left. 

Marist’s star twins did their best to turn the tide. First, senior defender Samatha Caldarelli took a shot from roughly 40 yards out but missed just high. Caldarelli’s shot was followed by her twin sister, senior midfielder Amanda Caldarelli, who took one of her five first-half shots from just outside the 18-yard box less than a minute later. 

She also missed high, but the offensive pressure at the end of the first half was something for the Red Foxes to build off of. 

A free kick six minutes into the second half for Iona wiped away any potential momentum the Red Foxes were trying to build. 

Freshman midfielder Marissa Graziano tallied her first collegiate assist on a free kick from inside her own half. Senior midfielder Kayla Thomas headed the ball towards senior forward Kate McNally, who took a soft touch to find graduate student forward Sophia Giamanco. 

Giamanco was one-on-one with Catalanotti and fired a strike into the bottom of the net, putting Iona up 1-0 early in the second half. 

Giamanco’s goal in her second straight match created adversity for Marist, but graduate student forward and captain Brooke Cergol responded in the 66th minute.

The goal came when Amanda Calderelli sent a deflected corner back into the box, finding Cergol close to goal. Cergol took her shot off the bounce, leaving freshman goalkeeper Savannah Rogers with no chance to save the high-slotted shot. 

Cergol let out a massive scream and a fist pump that looked like it could provide an energy boost for the Marist squad. Cergol is the first Red Fox to record multiple goals this season.

With six minutes left in the match, the game remained tied. Cergol took a quick breather and returned to the game in hopes of late offense. 

Iona has had issues with closing games out, allowing goals in the last five minutes of two of their previous four games, and Marist head coach Nicole Pacapelli wanted to take full advantage of that. But today, their defense held strong, and the final whistle blew without seeing any dangerous scoring chances after Marist equalized.

Despite missing a golden opportunity to gain three points, the draw keeps Marist alive in the  MAAC playoff picture. The Red Foxes will likely need a win during their final regular season match against second-place Canisius on Saturday afternoon during Senior Day in Poughkeepsie.

Edited by Sam Murphy

Photo via Marist Athletics

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