POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - On an afternoon where three positions in next weekend's MAAC Tournament were up for grabs, the fans at Tenney Stadium were treated to a defensive battle between Marist and Canisius. After 60 minutes of action, fans of both sides would breathe a big sigh of relief as the defensive slugfest would help both squads earn a chance to continue their seasons as the 7-5 outcome for Canisius gave the Golden Griffins the third seed and the Red Foxes the fourth seed. Junior Jack Doherty (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) and freshman Drew Nesmith (Montclair, N.J.) led Marist's offense with two points each.
Coming into the day, both Marist and Canisius knew that a low-scoring game would more than likely set up one or both of the teams qualifying for the MAAC Tournament as a one of the tie-breakers used by the MAAC is goals against.
The first quarter started off fast as Jack Kensil (Massapequa, N.Y.) got Marist onto the scoreboard 4:51 into the game on his first goal of the season. Off of a pass from behind the net, the senior attacker cut past a defender eight yards out, reared back and fired a shot low past Canisius' goalie Sean Callahan.
Canisius responded to this early goal with two of their own at 8:39 and 6:51. A Drew Nesmith to Evan Guarini (Long Valley, N.J.) connection with one minute to go in the quarter tied the game up at 2-2.
The back-and-forth action continued in the second quarter as the Golden Griffins went up one at 12:45 on a Travis Gibbons. Less than a minute later and eight seconds after a Canisius' penalty, Doherty evened it up for Marist as he took a pass from junior Connor Rice (Penfield, N.Y.) and put it home for his 29th goal of the year at 11:53. A Canisius goal 59 seconds later, gave the visitors a 4-3 lead that they would take into the halftime break.
Coming out in the second half, the Red Foxes would dominate scoring opportunities and time of possession, but unfortunately not the scoreboard as Canisius took four shots in the period and converted two into goals. Marist would take 10 shots, but were shut out in the third quarter.
Down 6-3, Marist quickly carved into the lead as junior Jim Marks (Camillus, N.Y.) found freshman Colin Joka (Conshohocken, Pa.) for a marker at 12:46. Such was the case in the first half Canisius combatted this goal with a tally of their own, 70 seconds later to bring the lead back to three at 7-4. Marist continued pressuring Canisius in the offensive zone during the rest of the period, but only a lone man-up goal by Nesmith at 0:57 would be registered.
After 60 minutes of play, the game would go final in Canisius' favor 7-5. With this result, Canisius, Detroit, Jacksonville and Marist all finished the regular season with 3-3 records in conference play. After an assortment of tie-breakers were figured out both teams at Tenney Stadium would eventually walk off the field relieved that their seasons would continue.
In next weekend's MAAC Tournament that will be hosted at Marist, Siena is seeded first, Detroit second, Canisius third and Marist fourth.
The Red Foxes be in action versus number one Siena in the second semifinal on Friday, May 4 at 7:30 pm.
Notes - Senior captain Chris Harren wore #34 in honor of former Red Fox Eddie Coombs, who died last summer in an automobile accident. Each game, a Marist player will wear the jersey based on who the coaches think earned it with their effort and play in practice and the previous game.
During a special halftime presentation the Marist Athletics Department recognized the members of the 1981 Marist men's lacrosse team. This team captured the first Knickerbocker conference title in school history. The Marist Athletics Department presented members of the 1981 team with championship rings to celebrate their achievement.