POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - In a hard fought, physical MAAC game on Friday night at Tenney Stadium, head coach Matt Viggiano surmised the outcome of the contest best when he said "once again, it was like the movie Groundhog Day, we did everything necessary to win, except score more than the other team." For the fifth time in five conference games, the Red Foxes outshot their opponent, but for the fourth time, they came out on the short end of the scoring as Canisius sneaked in two first-half goals to defeat Marist by a final score of 2-1. Freshman Cesar Ceja (Port Chester, N.Y.) registered his second goal of the season, as he netted the lone goal for the Red Foxes.
The game began with a frenetic pace as both teams knew that getting a win and the all-important three points that accompany it in the standings were at stake; a one-point tie wouldn't help either team much in the fight to make the conference's top four. Within the first eight minutes of play, each team had notched a goal and combined for four shots on goal.
Canisius began the scoring as the Golden Griffins got on the scoreboard at 3:55 as Jon Cary found Alex De Carolis at the back of the six-yard box for a volley shot off of a corner kick.
Unfazed, Marist charged down the field and less than 90 seconds later drew a foul 25 yards from the Canisius goal. After a tap restart by senior Josh Faga (Rochester, N.Y.), Cesar Ceja took over as he juked his defender, ripped a shot from just outside the box and saw the ball deflect off of a Golden Griffin past the out-stretched arms of Eric DeHond.
The teams went back-and-forth for the next 15-plus minutes, until Marist started putting substantial offensive possessions together beginning in the 25th minute. At the time, quick and smart decisions helped the Red Foxes control possession and the set up strong scoring opportunities. Freshman Simon Laugsand (Sortland, Norway) was the first beneficiary of this style of play as sophomore MJ Stellwag (Newburgh, N.Y.) found the tall Norwegian inside the six-yard box off of a throw-in and nearly converted it for a goal off of a header.
The momentum that Marist had built up during that span quickly disappeared in the 39th minute with one bounding loose ball. At 38:23 following a De Carolis corner kick, Regan Steele controlled an attempted clearance in a scrum inside the 18-yd box and tapped the ball to Jon Cary, who netted the eventual game-winning goal.
At the half, Canisius had a 6-5 advantage in shots and a 5-3 margin in shots on goal.
Coming out after the break, Marist's sense of urgency picked up even further and it showed in both the style of play and the statistics. The Red Foxes used wins on 50-50 balls and strong transition play in the midfield to accumulate 12 shots, including five on goal in the second period. Another sign of the pressure that they put on Canisius in the second 45 minutes was receiving 10 corner kicks.
The first of two plays, in which strong transitions nearly equaled goals for the Red Foxes was in the 63rd minute when Laugsand played a quick restart to sophomore Dylan Lee (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.); Lee took the ball up the near sideline pass three defenders before laying off a ball to Brossard in the middle. Unfortunately, for Marist, Golden Griffin pressure forced Brossard's shot wide.
The Red Foxes second opportunity out of transition was a Ceja header in the six-yard box off of a cross in from Laugsand on the left wing in the 71st minute.
DeHond, in his first start of the year for Canisius cemented the victory with a 79th minute diving save of a Marist penalty kick.
Hustling, fighting and even sending its goalkeeper in for a header on a corner kick with seconds remaining, the short-handed Red Foxes left it all on the field for all 90 minutes, but unfortunately were dealt a 2-1 outcome in favor of Canisius.
For the game, Marist outshot Canisius 17-10, with an 8-6 advantage in shots on goal. The Red Foxes also had a 12-4 final margin in corner kicks. Junior Anthony Sokalski (London, Ontario) took the loss in goal and finished with four saves.
With the win, Canisius improves to 8-4-2 and 1-3 in the MAAC, while Marist falls to 5-8-1, 1-4 in the MAAC.
Post-game Viggiano remarked that "I'm proud of the way the team fought throughout. Losing two starters to injury during the game hurt, but we never gave up and continued getting quality chances in the second half. Canisius took advantage of our two lapses on set plays and that hurt us. We have to do a better job of finishing and converting some of our shots on goals into scores."
Marist will complete its home regular season slate on Sunday, Oct. 21 when they host Niagara in a 1 p.m. matchup. Prior to the contest, 2013 graduates, Stephan Brossard, Josh Faga, Anthony Rozmus and Nick Gent will be recognized in a brief Senior Day ceremony.