By Michael Mack
As the men’s soccer team faced a winless MAAC record, the Broncs stepped up to defeat conference rival Niagara.
On Sunday, the Broncs had a chance against the Purple Eagles to either build on a good performance and get their first MAAC win, or slip to 0-3 in conference play.
The Broncs jumped on the opportunity early, as a goal from senior Nick Tramontana put them ahead 1-0. Tramontana got the assist from freshman keeper Matt Perella after an impressive 70-yard punt.
Rider went up 2-0 with 15 minutes to go in the first half on a goal from junior Andrew Cotes.
The second half was a bit closer as the Broncs were outshot 10-3 by Niagara. However, the Broncs were the first to find the net again as freshman Brenden Noesges scored his first collegiate goal with 11 minutes to go. That goal put Rider up 3-0 and put the game just out of reach. Niagara scored with just over a minute left to play, making the final score 3-1 and giving the Broncs their first MAAC win.
Head Coach Russ Fager was once again pleased with the way his team played.
“I thought we had another strong performance,” Fager said. “It was a real team effort, and that was what was needed to come away on top.”
The Broncs took on Canisius at home on Friday, Oct. 16. The team played very well against the Griffins, but in the end, the scoreboard showed a 3-1 loss for the Broncs.
Rider outshot Canisius 21-9, but was unable to make enough of those 21 shots count. Sophomore Sal Lubrano scored the lone goal for the Broncs on an assist from Cotes. Fager felt his team did enough to win the game.
“I thought we played exceptionally well against Canisius,” Fager said. “I thought we put on a clinic against them for 87 minutes. We were by far the best team on that day, but in our sport, the best team doesn’t always win.”
As the Broncs finally clinched their first MAAC win, Fager has high hopes for his team for the rest of the season.
“Our expectations are very simple,” Fager said. “We want to finish with a record over .500, finish in the top four of the MAAC to get to the conference championships and get to the championship game.”
These goals may be a bit lofty, as the Broncs are currently sporting a 4-7 record, with just six games remaining. This means that the Broncs would have to win all of their remaining games to finish with a regular season record above .500. However, if they are able to pull that off, they will certainly make it to the conference championships as all of their final six games are against MAAC foes.
Anything is possible for this young team. The Broncs take the next step toward their goal against the Siena Saints today at 3 p.m.