BUFFALO, N.Y. - A 56th minute goal with two accompanying milestones led the Marist women's soccer team to a 1-0 win in its conference opener over Canisius. With one corner kick-header combination, Marissa Mertens (Hicksville, N.Y.) netted her first-ever goal and Rycke Guiney (Naperville, Ill.) assisted on her 16th-career goal to move into sole possession of the number one all-time position in program history. The goal would stand up as the game-winner as Andrea Wicks (East Northport, N.Y.) backstopped a strong defensive effort with five saves.
Following a 26-shot output last Sunday in their regular season non-conference concluding match, the Red Foxes came out on Friday night and started MAAC play with another 20-shot performance versus the Golden Griffins. In the first half, Marist registered 12 shots, including six on goal. Sophomore Amanda Epstein (Jericho, N.Y.) led the offense with two shots on goal as she tested Canisius' goalkeeper Megan Tock in the 36th and 45th minutes.
Canisius tried to keep pace with the Red Foxes in the first half as they came out and took seven shots with four attempts on goal. In each case, Wicks denied the Golden Griffins. Her final save came in the waning seconds of the half at 44:40.
In the second half, Marist continued pressing Canisius in search of the game's first goal. Within nine minutes of the opening whistle, the Red Foxes had recorded three shots, including a Samantha Panzner (Livingston, N.J.) attempt that rattled off of the crossbar.
Finally at 55:36, the Red Foxes got on the scoreboard when Guiney lofted a corner kick into the box where Mertens powered in a header from 10 yards out.
After the initial offensive push to begin the half resulted in a goal, defense took over in the final 35 minutes of the game as Marist was able to get off just four shots, while Canisius had only one. Two of the Red Foxes' shots had scoring potential as Epstein's effort in the 65th minute hit the crossbar, while Tock snagged a Guiney shot in the 74th minute.
Wicks cemented her second individual and Marist's fourth team shutout of 2012 with the game's final save as she stopped a Katie Griffin save in the 83rd minute.
For the game, Marist outshot Canisius 20-8, with an 8-5 advantage in shots on goal and a 5-4 margin in corner kicks.
With the win, the Red Foxes move to 7-5 on the season and 1-0 in MAAC play.
The team will next be in action on Sunday afternoon at Niagara with play slated to kick off at 1 p.m.