By Kristopher Aponte
A loss in the quarterfinals to Iona on Nov. 10 knocked the men’s soccer team out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) tournament and ended its season.
Rider entered its final regular-season game against Quinnipiac as the No. 6 seed in the MAAC standings with high hopes on defeating the Bobcats. Losses from Marist and Manhattan the next day would give the Broncs the No. 4 seed and a home playoff game to begin the MAAC tournament.
The first half started with a quick Quinnipiac goal by Romain Daniellou, who sent a cross from the right sideline that drifted over Rider junior goalkeeper Pablo Gatinois’ head and entered the corner of the net, giving Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead.
This led to the Broncs playing on their heels until the 36th minute, when redshirt junior forward Pablo DeCastro received a beautiful cross from junior back Sergio Aguinaga which lead to DeCastro heading it to the back of the net.
In the 60th minute, Quinnipiac’s Tomas Svecula scored and was followed by a game-sealing 88th minute goal by Jason Budhai to clinch the win for the Bobcats.
The Broncs, the reigning MAAC champions, were ready for any battle ahead.
“I think everybody’s pretty positive, I think we’re ready for the playoffs,” Head Coach Charlie Inverso said.“I think we’re a pretty good road team. The last five years, we’ve won 32 road games, including the playoffs. I don’t think it’s anything to be overly concerned about. We actually like going on the road to play.”
The 3-1 loss to Quinnipiac led to a road playoff game against Iona on Nov. 10.
The Gaels came out the gate ready to go and scored two goals in under 40 minutes. The first was scored by Esad Mackic in the 30th minute which was followed by a goal in the 39th minute by Josh Plimpton to put Iona up, 2-0.
The Broncs made a comeback attempt less than a minute later as junior midfielder Francisco Gomez Olano cut the Gaels’ lead in half, but Rider was unable to find the equalizer in the second half.
The loss was the first time Rider failed to reach the finals of the MAAC tournament since 2014, when the Broncs were booted in the quarterfinals of that year’s postseason after a loss to Fairfield.
The Broncs ended their season with a record of 7-8-2. The 2019 record is the first with a winning percentage below .500 since 2013, when the Broncs finished the campaign 8-9-1.
At season’s end, four Rider players were named to all-MAAC honors.
Senior forward Clement Bourret and redshirt senior back Sylvain Coco received all-MAAC first-team honors, while redshirt senior back Emmanuel Kouma and DeCastro received second team honors.