By Kristopher Aponte and Austin Ferguson
A last-minute handball spoiled the Broncs’ chances for a senior day win against Marist on Oct. 26 after defeating Siena, 1-0, on Oct. 23.
The Broncs traveled to Loudonville, New York, to take on Siena, which they defeated 5-0 in their last meeting on Oct. 27, 2018.
The first half was quiet on both sides, as neither team could find the back of the net in the first 45 minutes. A combined five shots went off in the first half, none of which were on key.
Siena sent its lone on-goal shot in the 55th minute that was saved by junior goalkeeper Pablo Gatinois Rider put four shots on goal in the second half, one of which came off the foot of redshirt junior Pablo DeCastro in the 78th minute and found its way to the goal to put Rider up 1-0. The score was the only one of the match as the Broncs clinched a narrow victory over the Saints.
The Broncs sat just above a .500 winning percentage seeking to push themselves higher in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) standings at Ben Cohen Field for Rider’s senior day match against Marist.
The Broncs entered the game energized and ready to play but struggled early trying to control Marist’s offensive attack, allowing four shots on goal in the first half, none of which reached the back of the net.
Rider’s offense had a difficult time getting off shots in the first half. The Broncs attempted just two shots, with only one being on target. Senior forward Clement Bourret’s shot in the fourth minute was taken toward the bottom center of the net but was saved by Marist goalkeeper Samuel Ilin.
The Broncs defense continued to allow seams to go through, but Gatinois kept them from passing the post and allowed a scoreless first half.
Junior midfielder Taner Bay snapped the scoreless game with a high right corner shot, assisted by junior midfielder Francisco Gomez Olano and junior back Sergio Aguinaga to put Rider up 1-0.
“I was trailing the play a little bit and saw [Gomez Olano] coming down the sideline and just called for him to cut it back and I knew I got an opening and I hit it and see where I went and it ended up working,” said Bay.
As the game continued, Marist continued to put pressure on the Broncs back line and in the 77th minute, Marist’s Allen Gavilanes found the back of the net to equalize the score.
Just as it seemed this physical battle between Rider and Marist was going to an overtime period, senior Aaron Robinson committed a handball in the box with 11 seconds left on the clock.
Marist’s Achterkamp Huib cashed in on the opportunity and scored the penalty to secure the 2-1 win for Marist.
Rider Head Coach Charlie Inverso spoke on the team’s ability to regroup after the loss to Marist.
“This is a resilient group of guys and fighters,” Inverso said. “We’ve been fighting back from behind the past five years.”
With two games remaining in the regular season, the Broncs are holding on to the sixth and last spot in the MAAC tournament seeding with a 3-3-2 record, though they are just a point behind Manhattan and Marist and two points behind third-place Quinnipiac. Niagara sits just a point below Rider with a 3-4-1 record. Saint Peter’s and Iona remain in first and second place with 7-1 and 5-1-1 records respectively.
The Broncs hit the road for their last regular season road match on Oct. 30 when Rider takes on Iona at 3 p.m.