POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - In a game with seeding implications in the upcoming MAAC Women's Soccer Tournament both Marist and Loyola clearly illustrated to the fans at Tenney Stadium on Friday evening, why they are amongst the best teams in the conference. The two squads, who came into Friday each with one loss in league play, fought throughout the 90 minutes of action to not get loss number two.
For the host Red Foxes (13-6, 7-1 MAAC), sophomore Amanda Epstein (Jericho, N.Y.) netted her fourth game-winning goal of 2012 and 12th of her career with a 59th minute penalty kick to make sure that it wouldn't be Marist taking the loss. Classmate Andrea Wicks (East Northport, N.Y.) earned her third shutout of the season with three stops versus the Greyhounds (9-5-4, 5-2-1 MAAC).
The first half was controlled by physicality and strong defending. The first quality chance of the game came in the 13th minute from Loyola's Brittany Yancey, as she broke through the defense to put a shot on goal, which was quickly denied by Wicks. Less than three minutes later, Marist had its best scoring opportunity of the half as Epstein played a through ball up the left side in the direction of Megan McEnroe (St. James, N.Y.). Unfortunately, the freshman was unable to get a foot on the ball before Loyola's Didi Haracic left her goal line to intercept the ball.
At the half, both teams had recorded three shots, with Marist holding a 2-1 advantage in shots on goal.
The second half started with a Marist picking up its pace offensively. Within the opening 10 minutes, the Red Foxes had equaled their first half output in shots on goal with two. The team's first strong scoring opportunity occurred in the 55th minute when Epstein slotted a pass from the left hand corner to junior Ryckie Guiney (Naperville, Ill.), who put a shot on net from eight yards out, but saw it nabbed by Haracic.
Less than four minutes, Marist would be awarded a penalty kick following a Loyola handball in the box. With the pressure on, Epstein calmly put the ball in the lower right corner to give the Red Foxes a 1-0 lead at 58:22.
This goal would hold up as the game-winner over the final 31:38, but not without threats from Loyola and its two-time MAAC Offensive Player of the Year, Nichole Schiro. In the 67th minute, Wicks would deny a Schiro shot and in the 87th minute, junior defender Kylee McIntosh (Cheshire, Conn.) would handle the 13-goal scorer with strong defending. With the time winding down in the game, Schiro controlled a through ball and looked to take an unabated trip down the center of the field and towards net, until McIntosh chased her down from behind and toe poked the ball away and out of harms way.
For the game, Marist outshot Loyola 8-7 with a 6-3 advantage in shots on goal. The Greyhounds led with more corner kicks at 6-3, as well as fouls at 17-12. Eight total shots tied Marist's lowest output of the year, its 2-0 victory at Penn on Sept. 7.
With the win, the Red Foxes tied the all-time program best mark of 13 victories in a single-season, set last year.
The Red Foxes will have a chance to set history on Sunday, October 28th versus Rider in their final regular season home game of the year. Prior the contest, the team's seven seniors: Jessica Arabia, Chelsea Botta, Jackie Frey, Nicole Kuhar, Caitlin Landsman, Melanie Rigo and Jaclynn Sabia will be honored with a brief Senior Day ceremony. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 P.M.