Marist men’s soccer (6-7-3 overall, 4-4-2 MAAC) ended their regular season with a 2-0 loss to the Siena Saints (8-8 overall, 8-2 MAAC). The Red Foxes outshot Siena 17-5, but failedto finish their chances.
The Red Foxes suffered a loss last time out 2-1 against Rider on senior night. Sitting at fifth in the standings, Marist is most likely traveling for the first round of the MAAC playoffs.
The Saints entered the final match second in the standings after overtaking Manhattan with a 3-2 win over the Jaspers on Oct. 28. This gives them a bye in the first round of the MAAC playoffs.
Head coach Matt Viggiano made numerous changes to the Red Foxes’ lineup and rotated multiple players off the bench. Freshman midfielder Adam Rustami sat out due to yellow card accumulation.
Siena took an early lead with a one-on-one finish by senior forward Junior Kone in the second minute. He notched his team-leading eighth goal of the season. Junior midfielder Zach Gardner played him through the middle of Marist’s defense, extending his point streak to six.
After a ball played down the line by sophomore midfielder Skyler Cuhna, junior defender Albion Bacaj put in a dangerous cross in the seventh minute. Saints freshman goalie Bennet Glinder fumbled his attempt to scoop the ball, and he fell on it just before Marist sophomore midfielder Jonathan Salguero could take advantage.
Marist settled into the match following the early goal, holding possession in the Saints half. However, the Red Foxes failed to threaten Siena’s goal until the 24th minute. Senior forward Jared Juleau brought the ball down just outside the box and unloaded a curled shot towards the far post. He missed by inches with Glinder at full stretch.
Siena invited pressure while they held possession, and Marist forced numerous turnovers in the attacking third. In the 28th minute, Juleau drove at defenders after a free kick, but his shot was blocked.
Minutes later, freshman Kyle Evans played Salguero through, but his pass across the six-yard box did not find a Red Fox attacker, and Siena maintained their lead. The Red Foxes controlled the rest of the half.
With under five minutes left, a long-range shot from senior midfielder Justin Rodriguez was deflected, and freshman forward Sam Gjokai put a header on goal. Glinder dove to his right and made the save.
Siena kept their head going into halftime despite being outshot 7-2. However, Marist only mustered one shot on target.
The Saints worked a prime scoring chance in the 56th minute. Kone cut a ball back to freshman midfielder Lee Mara, whose close-range shot was right at Marist goalkeeper Luca Bulfon. On the other end, Salguero found space and his low shot was pushed wide by Glinder.
Ten minutes later, Marist floated a ball into the box, where it fell to freshman defender Nicolas Sanchez, and his effort was deflected just wide.
The Red Foxes upped the pressure in the second half, pressing Siena harder and being more aggressive in their decision-making. Marist threatened again in the 71st minute, where Cuhna put Juleau through on goal, but Glinder charged off his line to thwart Juleau’s shot.
In the next minute, Evans thought he brought Marist level, but the offside flag was raised on the far side.
Despite the pressure, Siena extended their lead with eight minutes left to play. A cross from senior forward Bilal Hersi finds junior midfielder Anthony Rouse on the backside. He slots the ball past Bulfon, scoring his first Division One collegiate goal.
Marist will enter the MAAC playoffs after missing out last season and with a two-game skid. The first round is Sunday, Nov. 5, but their opponent and game time is TBD, as they will find out their fate in the coming days.
Edited by Dan Aulbach
Photo Credit: Jaylen Rizzo