- The Griffin
Men’s soccer comes up short against Bowling Green, Marist
By Adam Gorski
Despite flashes of strong play, the Canisius men’s soccer team dropped both of their matches this past week.
A strong second half showing was not quite enough on Sept. 24, as the Griffs fell 2–1 to No. 17/24 Bowling Green. Then, on Wednesday, a shaky first-half stretch doomed Canisius in their MAAC play opener as Marist secured a 3–1 road victory.
In the Griffs’ final non-conference matchup against nationally ranked Bowling Green, it was the Falcons (7–2–1) who flexed their muscles early, with two first-half goals courtesy of Joey Akpunonu (7’) and Kyle Cusimano (28’) that gave them a 2–0 cushion at the halftime break.
However, the second half proved to be a drastic turnaround for Canisius (0–6–2, 0–1–0) that saw them on the front foot for the vast majority of the final 45 minutes. In the 59th minute, the Griffs got on the board, thanks to a great run from Federico Mereto, whose tidy dribbling in the 18-yard box resulted in a cut back ball that found the foot of Noah Hodson, whose powerful finish beat Bowling Green goalkeeper Logan Kowalczyk. It was just the third goal the Falcons had allowed all season in just over 800 minutes of game time.
Despite tallying 13 shot attempts in the second half to the Falcons’ three, the one goal was all Canisius could muster, but the positive signs were there in the eyes of coach Dermot McGrane.
“You’re never happy with a loss, but they’re a very good team,” he said. “If we had played the whole game the way we did in the second half, I think we would have won it. … That second half was a very strong performance.”
In Wednesday’s match versus Marist, the Griffs once again produced a better second half than first, but the damage was already done by the Red Foxes.
A strong day from Marist’s Kyle Galloway saw the graduate transfer tally a goal and two assists, as the Red Foxes opened the scoring in the 16th minute, thanks to Stefan Copetti and a brace from Huib Achterkamp followed in the 33rd minute off a loose ball from a corner kick.
Hopes of a swift turnaround in the second half for Canisius were dashed just 14 seconds into the final 45 minutes as Galloway notched his goal.
The Griffs would produce their lone tally in the 81st minute courtesy of Lachlan Beever, whose control and quick turn on the edge of the 6-yard box gave him just enough space to power the ball into the bottom left corner.
“Up until they scored, the first 15 minutes were back and forth, but I think the goal deflated us a little bit, which I’m disappointed in,” McGrane said. “The first two goals were not good ones to give up. I thought we were more dangerous in the second half, … but you can’t give a team three goals and expect to win.”
After falling in their MAAC opener, Canisius will look to bounce back this Saturday at 2 p.m. as they travel to New Rochelle, N.Y. to face Iona before they head into their bye week.