POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - After 88 minutes of hard-fought, scoreless action a trio of goals over a seven minute span, including two within 29 seconds of each other, would see the Niagara Purple Eagles pull out a dramatic 2-1 victory over the host Red Foxes.
The fire and enthusiasm shown by Marist on its senior day would not be enough to upset the Purple Eagles, who came into Sunday with just one loss on the season. Senior Josh Faga (Rochester, N.Y.) netted his first career goal off of a corner kick by senior Stephan Brossard (Port Washington, N.Y.) to give the Red Foxes a short-lived lead in the 89th minute.
The story of first half was strong defending and the majority of possession being controlled in the midfield. The teams combined for just nine total shots, as Marist had five and Niagara four.
Marist's best two scoring opportunities in the half were shots on goal by Brossard and sophomore MJ Stellwag (Newburgh, N.Y.). Brossard's shot in the 10th minute came courtesy of a precise pass through two defenders by freshman Cesar Ceja (Port Chester, N.Y.); once Brossard received the ball he came up the right side and placed an attempt on frame. Stellwag's shot from 25 yards out in the 11th minute came after a quick restart by Matty Berman (West Orange, N.J.).
After halftime, the pace of play and quality of scoring opportunities increased for both teams. Within the first 12 minutes of the period Niagara's Brett Petricek came through with two key saves to keep the game scoreless.
In the 49th minute, senior Anthony Rozmus (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) laid off a lead pass to Brossard up the wing; from there, Brossard put a well-placed shot towards the upper right 90 before Petricek leapt to snag it.
Nine minutes later in the 58th minute, Ceja created a scoring opportunity with skilled dribbling in the box before getting a shot from straight on.
Over the next 30 minutes, the teams would continue getting sustained possessions deeper in their opponents' defensive zones.
Berman nearly broke the scoreless tie in the 88th minute when he rocketed in a 25-yard shot that rang off the post.
Finally at 88:20, Brossard lofted a high corner kick towards the back post where a charging Faga out-leapt his defender and powered home the go-ahead goal.
Off the ensuing kickoff, Niagara attacked the Red Fox defense and earned a corner kick within 20 seconds. Off of a Bryan Da Cruz corner kick, Rene De Zorzi volleyed home the low ball at 88:49.
Tied at 1-1, the teams would go into overtime, where a corner kick would once again be the most successful form of offense.
At 95:19, Bryan Da Cruz once again put a dangerous ball into the back of the box to De Zorzi, who headed the ball towards the near post, where Roberto Andersson put a well-placed volley on net for the game-winning golden goal.
For the game, Marist outshot Niagara 16-11; both teams registered six shots on goal.
With the win Niagara improves to 9-1-4, 3-1-1 in the MAAC, while Marist falls to 5-9-1, 1-5 in MAAC play.
Post-game head coach Matt Viggiano remarked that "we did everything we needed to do to defeat a really quality opponent. Unfortunately, we lost concentration when it mattered the most. I really feel for the guys, who left it all out there today and end up with this result. We deserved better."
Prior to the game, the Marist Athletic Department recognized the team's four 2013 graduates: Stephan Brossard, Josh Faga, Anthony Rozmus and Nick Gent.
The Red Foxes will be in action on the road next Saturday, Oct. 27 as the travel to Siena to play the Saints in a contest that will kickoff at 3 p.m.