DURHAM, N.H. - In their first road game of the young season, the Marist men's soccer team ventured to Durham, N.H. for a meeting with the UNH Wildcats of the America East Conference. Facing a Wildcat team, that just five days ago defeated Michigan State 1-0, the Red Foxes knew they were in for a strong test. After 90 minutes of play, the Red Foxes passed that test, as the team secured a 2-0 victory. Freshman Cesar Ceja (Port Chester, N.Y.) netted his first collegiate goal on the eventual game-winner in the 63th minute. Junior Wes Finch (Newburgh, N.Y.) closed the team's scoring with his first goal of 2012.
In the first half, each team looked to impose their style of play on each other. Statistically, the Wildcats' physical, defensive style won out as Marist was held to just three shots in the opening stanza, though the Red Foxes drew eight fouls. Graduate student Emeka Nwachukwu (London, England) and sophomore Matty Berman (West Orange, N.J.) attempted to kick start the offense in the first half as the duo tested UNH's goalkeeper Blake Dawn on back-to-back situations with shots on goal.
Junior Anthony Sokalski (London, Ontario) equaled his counterpart in net as he stopped both of UNH's shots on goal in the first half to send the teams to the locker room deadlocked at 0-0.
The defensive storyline of the first half carried over into the early goings on of the second period as only one shot, a Wildcat attempt, was registered in the first 17 minutes of play. Luckily for Marist, the second shot of period number two would make more of an impact as Ceja would take a pass from junior Evan Southworth (Newburgh, N.Y.) and rip a shot on goal from near the 18-yard box into the top right corner of the net. This marker signaled the first collegiate goal of his young career.
After Ceja's goal, the pace of play picked up and both teams got more offensive. In the five minutes following the goal, UNH took four shots alone. Twice the Wildcats' attempts to score were thwarted by Marist defenders blocking shots.
After withstanding UNH's attack, Marist had its chance to increase its lead five minutes later when freshman Simon Laugsand (Sortland, Norway) put a shot on net.
The ping-pong nature of the second half would continue as the Wildcats put one last strong offensive effort together in the 63 second span of time between 85:30 and 86:33. In that time period, UNH was denied by Sokalski twice and had its third attempt blocked.
Finally, Marist was able to add an insurance goal in the 88th minute, as senior Stephan Brossard (Port Washington, N.Y.) took his defender down the line before whipping a cross into the box where he found a charging Wes Finch, who slid in and connected with the ball for the goal. This marked Finch's first Division 1 goal, after netting 15 prior at Division 3 Sage College.
For the game, New Hampshire outshot Marist 15-9, though the Red Foxes held a 5-4 advantages in shots on goal.
On the strength of his four saves, Sokalski earned his first career shutout.
"This was a great way to get a win" remarked head coach Matt Viggiano post-game. "Playing on the road and for New Hampshire's home opener was a task. We dodged some bullets during the game, as they were a physical and athletic team. Overall, we held on and got the win. Its always hard to win on the road in Division 1 soccer and I'm real proud of the team for doing that."
The Red Foxes will next be in action on Tuesday, Sept. 4 when they travel to Newark, N.J. to face off with the Highlanders of NJIT in a 7 p.m. matchup.