Today marks the eighth day of the Marist Athletic Department's count
down of the top 10 stories of the 2011 calendar year. Story number three is the
record-breaking season of the Marist Women's Soccer Program, who earned their first-ever
MAAC Championship in November.
Top 10 of 2011: #3 - Women's Soccer Caps Record Season With First MAAC Championship
The Marist Women's Soccer earned their first-ever MAAC Championship and NCAA bid with an exciting 1-0 victory over Loyola on Nov. 6 at Loyola's Ridley Athletic Complex. In a hard-fought, physical battle, a goal by freshman Amanda Epstein (Jericho, N.Y.) in the 43rd minute stood up over the final 47 plus minutes as the game-winner. Junior Caitlin Landsman backstopped a stout Red Fox defense to earn her fifth shutout of the season.
Marist broke through on the scoreboard at 42:33 with a three-part play involving Red Fox freshmen. Off of a Jamie Strumwasser (Massapequa Park, N.Y.) throw in, Marjana Maksuti (Delmar, N.Y.) flicked a header onto a wide-open Epstein, who controlled the ball and volleyed it into the back of the net.
This scoring play was significant for all of the players. For Maksuti this was her first career point, for Strumwasser this was her first career assist and for Epstein it was her 28th point of the season, a mark that put her in a tie with Jamie Beirwirth for the most points in a single season. Also a freshman, Beirwirth notched 28 points in 1997.
Coming out of the locker room just 45 minutes from securing the MAAC crown, the Red Foxes had to withstand a stronger Loyola offensive effort that began with two Greyhound shots in the 49th and 51st minutes.
Shortly after that series of shots, the Red Foxes took their turn on offense. Sophomore Rycke Guiney (Naperville, Ill.) headed a shot wide before Epstein and sophomore Samantha Panzner (Livingston, N.J.) tested Loyola's new goalkeeper Danielle Ippolito.
Landsman was tested with Loyola's only shot on goal at 79:17 when Kelsey Donohue fired a shot from close-in that the junior goalkeeper shut down on the doorstep of the goal.
With a dramatic countdown from the bench, the Red Fox athletes, coaches and fans exploded as the clock went to 0:00 and the 2011 MAAC Women's Soccer Championship was Marist's.
Post-match, four Red Foxes were named to the MAAC All-Tournament team: junior defender Jessica Arabia (Naperville, Ill.), Guiney, Landsman and Epstein. For her two-goal effort at the tournament Epstein was named the 2011 MAAC All-Tournament MVP.
For the game, Marist outshot Loyola 9-7 with a 5-1 advantage in shots on goal.
The starting defensive alignment of juniors Chelsea Botta (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and Melanie Rigo (Huntington, N.Y.), freshman Marissa Mertens (Hicksville, N.Y.), Arabia and Cartica helped Landsman secure the shutout on just one shot allowed.
The Red Foxes' helped collect their first-ever title by posting a perfect 3-0 record at Loyola's Ridley Athletic Complex this season.
With their program-best 13th victory in hand, Marist ventured into its first NCAA Tournament where it faced off a fourth-seeded Boston College team on Nov 13.
On a beautiful, fall day at Boston College's Newton Soccer Complex, the Red Foxes came in with the knowledge that they would be facing a team that was just one year removed from a Final Four tournament run. Realizing the disadvantages that they had on paper, the team came out and made a concerted effort to control all of the variables that they could.
Giving a strong effort throughout the contest, Boston College's ACC-caliber strength, size and skill was too much for the young Red Foxes, who fell by a score of 6-1.
Senior captain Kathryn Hannis' (Bloomsbury, N.J.) capped her Marist career with her second goal of the 2011 season as she took a Panzner cross and headed it past the outstretched arms of the Eagles' goalkeeper.
At the conclusion of the season, Epstein's game-winning goal versus Loyola, the eighth of 2011, would see her ranked third overall in the entire NCAA Division 1.