POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – With their 0-0 draw against Rider on Saturday, the Marist Men’s soccer team has officially missed out on postseason play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Though they still have one game left in the season, their points difference in the standings is out of reach, and their season will end earlier than the team would have hoped for.
The failure to make the postseason was expected for the Red Foxes, considering the scenarios that had to have played out in order for Marist to jump Iona and get into that final playoff spot. First, the Red Foxes had to win both of their final games. Second, Iona, who had only one game left on their schedule, had to lose to Canisius, as even a draw would make the gap in points too great to close. The Red Foxes’ fate was sealed just before their own game headed into overtime, as Iona managed a draw with Canisius, meaning they earned one point in the standings rather than zero. Marist also gained one point from their draw with Rider. Even if the Red Foxes defeat local rivals Siena on Wednesday, earning three points for the victory, they will still be one point behind Iona on the table.
The Red Foxes’ season was one marred with injuries and inconsistency. Two of the team’s top defenders, senior Brandon Curtis and sophomore Marcus Ginman, were lost for the season due to injuries. These injuries left massive holes in the Marist defense; holes which allowed opponents easy paths to shots on goal. The Red Foxes’ record would have been even worse had it not been for the play of senior goalkeeper Mark Rajovic. Rajovic often single-handedly kept his team in the game with his acrobatic saves and led some counter-attacking play from the back with his ball distribution skills. Rajovic saved 73% of the shots that he faced, but he also allowed over a goal and a half per game due to the sheer volume of shots he faced.
While the Red Foxes’ season did not go as expected this year, there is still hope for the future. A young core of players will be returning for next season, including freshman Allen Gavilanes. Gavilanes was a revelation for the Red Foxes, named in the Starting XI for all but one of his 17 games played. From a midfield role, Gavilanes led the team in both goals and assists and was the creative force behind the entire Marist offense. Gavilanes converted eight of his 23 shots on goal this season, and was named as one of the top 100 freshmen in the NCAA by Top Drawer Soccer.
However, this season will serve as motivation for the returning players next year. “This season wasn’t how we wanted to show up, but we’ll be back next season with a chip on our shoulder,” stated junior winger Abby Elsayed, who finished the season with one goal and two assists in seven appearances. While key players like Rajovic will not be returning, the young Red Foxes will have another year under their belt for next season, steadily improving to their goal of a MAAC championship.