WEST POINT, N.Y. - Freshman Merrilynn Esteve had a hand in both goals and goalkeeper Caitlin Nazarechuk made three of her four saves in the second half as the Marist women’s soccer team downed host Army, 2-0, in the season debut for both Friday evening at Clinton Field.
Scoring both goals in the first half, Marist jumped out to a quick start when forward Kate Fox slammed a pass from Esteve into the opposite right corner of the Army net 11 minutes into the contest. Esteve added the insurance goal at the 27:40 when she headed the ball to the keeper’s right off teammate Keri Koegel’s corner kick.
After being outshot 12-4 in the first half, Army controlled the tempo in the second half by a 13-2 margin, but the Black Knights were unable to finish off opportunities with three close chances nixed by Nazarechuk .
Army freshman Kelley Robbins booted a team-high four shots and senior Jenna Roberts was next with three. Both had a shot on goal, with Roberts' first half attempt coming up short on what would have been the equalize.
“The question at the start of the season was can we score goals?’” commented long-time mentor Gene Ventriglia. “We had some good opportunities tonight to score in the second half after making a few adjustments, but we didn’t.
“We played much better over the final 45 minutes, and now we have to find a way to finish. I can’t take anything away from Marist - it is a good team with a lot of speed.
“This is just the first game of the season, and we are looking to keep improving with every game so that we will be ready for the start of conference play.
“I am not happy we lost of course, but there were things I liked and things we have to improve upon. “
Army returns to action next weekend when it journeys to Pittsburgh, Pa., to participate in the Duquesne Tournament, the first of two tournaments scheduled in 2007. The Black Knights open tournament play with Mt. St. Mary’s on Sept. 8 and the host Dukes the next day (Sept. 9).
PITCH NOTES: It is the fourth time that Army has met Marist in its season opener where the Black Knights show a 3-1 advantage ... three freshmen were among Army’s 19 players who drew time ... newcomers making their collegiate debut were Candice Bryan, Courtney Pipitone and Kelley Robbins ... also making her collegiate debut was sophomore goalkeeper Brittany Fearnside ... the native of Niskayuna, N.Y., played the second half and was not called upon to make a save.