By Charles Guthrie
After being unbeaten in six of their last seven games, the Broncs hit a roadblock against MAAC foe Siena.
The Broncs (5-5-1 overall, 0-1-1 MAAC) lost a 1-0 decision to the Saints (4-5-1overall, 1-1 MAAC) on Sunday in a game that went down to the wire.
The game was scoreless well into the second half until Saints sophomore Anthony Tagliaferri, who came in at 83:33 for junior Mike DeSimone, scored just under the 86-minute mark for what turned out to be the game-winner. Freshman midfielder Steve Covino and freshman forward Steve Tavernese assisted on the play.
“We were down in numbers with a few guys out,” Head Coach Russ Fager said. “Nobody played extremely well today, we didn’t play at the level that we needed to win.”
Junior midfielder Anthony Gilbert had three shots on goal for Rider, while freshman forward Tom Antonucci and sophomore defenseman Nico Tramontana each had two shots of their own. Junior goalkeeper Randall Zapolski had two saves for the game.
The Broncs were outshot 12-11.
This series has been a low-scoring affair as there were only two goals combined between the two teams in their previous two match-ups. Even with the loss, Rider is still 5-4-3 against Siena since they began playing in 1997.
Last Friday, the Broncs opened up the MAAC season traveling to Marist to take on the Red Foxes (3-5-2 overall, 0-1-1 MAAC) in what turned out to be a grueling game for both squads.
Junior A.J. Parillo scored his first goal of the season 40:48 into the first half to put the Broncs on the board. Senior Lee Tomasso and Gilbert tallied assists on the goal.
“I just happened to be where the ball was,” Parillo said. “Call it great anticipation or luck, I just did what I had to do to get on the other end of the ball and put it in the net. It could have been anyone of us who received the ball and been in a position to score. It just so happened to be me who got the opportunity.”
Marist tied it up when sophomore Corey Perkins scored with only 1:41 left in the second half. It was his fourth goal of the season and was assisted by freshman Joe Touloumis.
Both teams would go on to play in double overtime with neither team able to put the ball in the net. After playing in the 110-minute marathon, the Broncs came out of the opener with a tie.
“The game was somewhat of a heartbreaker,” Fager said. “The refs didn’t exactly call a good game. I felt we deserved to come out with a win. The guys came out and played well. They were able to handle the pressure well also.”
Marist outshot Rider 17-12. Rider did a solid job keeping Marist from scoring as Marist only managed one shot in the two overtime periods.
Sophomore midfielder Kevin Juska had four shots for Rider with one attempt made on goal. Sophomore forward Tyler DeBari had three shots, and freshman defenseman Desmond Farrelly had two shots on goal for Marist.
Junior goalkeeper Jesse Forsythe had eight saves for Rider. Marist freshman goalie Tom DeBenedetto had four saves of his own.
Marist came out on top 3-2 when the two teams met last season, but Rider still holds the series lead with a record of 9-7-1 since they started playing each other in 1992.
Tramontana found himself in the news yet again as he was honored by dailyrecord.com as “Athlete of the Day” on Oct. 6 for his two-goal performance against LaSalle on Sept. 29. The sophomore defenseman is happy about the praise he’s been given, but said he needs to keep playing at a high level with two MAAC games coming up this weekend.
“I am very honored to be getting a lot of praise lately and it feels good to be recognized for the efforts that I put into practice and on the field,” Tramontana said. “We have some big conference games coming this weekend so hopefully I can continue playing well along with my team so we can both get the recognition we deserve.”
“Two games into the conference with one point isn’t where we want to be although it isn’t a horrible start,” Parillo said. “Considering this was an away trip in conference, you can’t be all that upset and you definitely can’t dwell on the past. This weekend we’re up for a sizable challenge and that’s where we have our sights set.”
Rider will play two home games this weekend starting today against the Iona Gaels (5-6 overall, 2-0 MAAC) at 4 p.m. They will also square off with the Fairfield Stags (6-2-2 overall, 1-0-1 MAAC) on Sunday at 1 p.m.
“We still feel we can play with everyone,” said Fager. “I’m optimistic that we can go out and pick up a win today.”