By Shaun Chornobroff
With an eye toward the playoffs, women’s soccer Head Coach Drayson Hounsome held out some key players in a 2-0 loss to Iona on Oct. 30.
Freshman midfielder Camryn Dees, senior midfielder Sofia Soares and sophomore defender Niamh Cashin, among others, were unavailable for Rider’s regular-season finale.
“Some of them were injured but others were rested,” Hounsome said. “It’s always a tricky situation when you have a game to play that has no bearing on anything. You want to go out, win and give good effort, but you also know the next opponent wasn’t playing. You want to take one game at a time, but when a game has no bearing on the future you have to focus on what’s most important.”
Iona was in control for the first 10 minutes of the game.
It seemed that Rider had a breakthrough in the 11th minute when senior midfielder Erica Ludwikowski tapped in a shot from graduate student forward Emily Curteis, but the officials ruled Ludwikowski was offside.
Immediately after Ludwikowski’s goal was called back, the Gaels had a breakthrough of their own.
Sophomore forward Faith Preziosi scored her first of two goals on the night for the Gaels when she unleashed a rocket past junior goalkeeper Carmen Carbonell’s outstretched arms and into the back of the net.
Within two minutes of the first goal Iona almost doubled their lead, but Carbonell stifled a clear-cut chance making one of eight saves on the night.
Rider was unable to create chances in the first half and was outshot 9-4 by Iona.
In the second half, the Broncs were much improved
They came out with a lot more energy but, much like the first half, Rider lacked consistency in the attacking end.
Hounsome elaborated on the lack of opportunities.
“We were a little bit disjointed, obviously when you are a possession team and communication is key to be able to possess the ball, who’s moving where and where do you want them to feed you into space,” Hounsome said. “When you have a different lineup the ball doesn’t flow quite as well and I think you saw a little bit of that tonight.”
Rider continually pressed throughout the second half which left it vulnerable to the Gaels’ counterattack.
In the 78th minute, the Broncs’ defense cracked again as Preziosi scored her second of the game and her fourth of her career against Rider to put the game out of reach.
One bright spot for Rider was senior midfielder Valeria Pascquet.
Pascuet often created good opportunities and was consistently threatening Iona on set pieces.
“I was just trying to play for the team and get that goal we needed to tie the game,” Pascuet said. “Then they scored the second goal, but I just wanted to score for the team because I know how badly we wanted to win this game.”
This was Rider’s first loss to Iona since 2012.
The No. 3 seed Broncs will begin the opening round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships on Nov. 3 at Ben Cohen Field against No. 6 Niagara Purple Eagles at 4 p.m.
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