Army Drops Wild Season Opener To Marist, 6-4

Senior Tanner Robertson

Senior Tanner Robertson

Aug. 26, 2011

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WEST POINT, N.Y. - The second year of the Russell Payne era kicked off Friday evening as the Army men's soccer team dropped an entertaining 6-4 decision to visiting Marist on an absolutely picturesque late-summer evening at West Point's Clinton Field.

The season opener for both clubs was a back-and-forth affair that saw Marist rattle off four unanswered goals in the first half and featured three straight Army markers in the second half.

Army (0-1) trailed 4-1 at halftime, but the Black Knights stormed out of the locker room with three goals in a span of 7 minutes, 34 seconds to knot the score midway through the second stanza. The game remained deadlocked until the 74th minute when Marist's Krystian Witkowski netted what proved to be the game-winning tally.

Army ramped up the pressure following Witkowski's goal, carrying the play and keeping the ball on Marist's defensive half of the field. The Black Knights' best opportunity to level the score at 5-all came in the 81st minute when freshman Tommy Jaeger's 30-yard shot on a direct kick was punched aside by Marist goalkeeper Steve Skonieczny.

Army continued to pressure Marist following Yaeger's effort, but Witkowski added an insurance marker in the 89th minute to cap the scoring and dash the Black Knights' hopes.

"I like the fact that we fought back when we could have easily sunk," said Payne. "Our guys showed a ton of character, and for a large part of the game we had seven freshmen on the field. It's going to take continued effort to get it right defensively. We know we can score goals, which is a good feeling. We will have to build off of that. We know we can do it, but we have to take care of things in our box first."

Four different Black Knights tallied goals to lead a balanced Army attack. Stephan Broussard paced Marist's offense, scoring three goals and assisting on another.

The Black Knights got off to a fast start as senior Tanner Robertson scored off an unsettled situation less than three minutes into the first half. Freshman David Rouleau, who played the ball into the penalty area, was credited with an assist on the marker, which was a hard left-to-right strike from 15 yards out.

Marist (1-0) quickly seized momentum, however, as the Red Foxes scored four goals in a span of 7:43. Brossard potted the first of his three markers as he received a crossing pass from Dylan Lee and buried it from point-blank range at the 18:59 mark. In the 24th minute, Broussard gave Marist its first lead of the night when he took a pass from Gerry Ceja and ripped a laser of a shot from 12 yards out into the upper right-hand corner of the cage. Broussard capped his hat trick in the 26th minute as he scored an unassisted goal off a broken play. Ceja made it 4-1 in favor of the Red Foxes less than 90 seconds later when he headed the ball past Army freshman goalkeeper John Marinelli. Broussard, who served the ball into the box off a corner kick, picked up an assist on the goal.

Marist took its 4-1 advantage into halftime. The Red Foxes enjoyed an 11-4 edge in shots during the opening 45 minutes.

Army was able to flip a switch during the intermission, though, as the Black Knights needed just a little over 15 minutes to tie the score at 4-4. Army's comeback began in the 53rd minute when senior Jeff Pickett headed Jaeger's perfectly-placed corner kick past Skonieczny and into the back of the net. Freshman Elliott McGilbra trimmed Marist's lead to 4-3 in the 59th minute when he corralled a rebound and snuck the ball into the net. Carson McReynolds, whose 18-yard shot clanged off the crossbar, earned an assist on McGilbra's marker. Freshman Sean Mogan netted the equalizer less than two minutes later when he took a pass from junior Josh Koeppe, turned and drilled a shot from 25 yards out into the upper right-hand corner of the cage. Mogan's goal, which sailed just past the outstretched fingertips of Skonieczny, brought the crowd of 1,877 spectators to its feet.

The Black Knights had clearly regained the game's momentum, but they were unable to push across the go-ahead goal. Marist reclaimed the lead at the 73:55 mark when Witkowski headed the ball past Marinelli on a restart. After nearly 15 more minutes of scoreless action, Witkowski tacked on his second goal of the half as he eluded a pair of Army defenders and unleashed a 12-yard shot.

Skonieczny finished with two saves to earn the victory for Marist. Marinelli, meanwhile, stopped two shots in his collegiate debut.

Army outshot Marist, 6-3, in the second half, but the Red Foxes held a 14-10 margin for the match. The Black Knights held a slim 5-3 edge in corner kicks. A total of five yellow cards were handed out during the physical contest.

Army will return to action on Monday, August 29, when the Black Knights host Manhattan at Clinton Field. The match, which will be videostreamed live on the internet via ITT Knight Vision, is scheduled to get under way at 7 p.m. The Black Knights shut out the Jaspers, 2-0, last November at West Point.

Match Notes: Army falls to 3-11-1 all-time versus Marist ... Tanner Robertson's goal was the sixth of his career ... Jeff Pickett's tally was the fourth of his career ... Elliott McGilbra and Sean Mogan both tallied their first career goals ... Josh Koeppe, David Rouleau and Tommy Jaeger each picked up their first career assists ... it marked the first career point for Koeppe ... Carson McReynolds' assist was the fourth of his career ... Army scored four goals in a game for the first time since defeating NJIT, 4-1, during the 2007 season, a span of 54 games ... the Black Knights allowed six goals in a match for the first time since dropping an 8-1 decision to Colgate in 2003, a span of 120 games ... five freshmen were in the Black Knights' starting lineup, and four more rookies entered the game as reserves ... Army wore its brand-new white uniforms with white jerseys, white shorts and white socks.

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