By Carolo Pascale
Rider women’s soccer rounded out their non-conference schedule with a winless weekend, falling to Fairleigh Dickinson (FDU) 5-1 on Sept. 8 and tying with St. Francis Brooklyn 1-1 on Sept. 1.
The house always wins
The Broncs’ first game of the weekend saw them travel up to Teaneck, New Jersey to face in-state foe, Fairleigh Dickinson. Rider struggled against the winless Knights, giving up a royal flush of five goals for the first time this season, falling 5-1 on Sept. 8.
“We missed too many tackles and were out of position defensively, so we need to improve defending individually and as a group,” said Head Coach Drayson Hounsome.
The Knights got on the scoresheet fast with two goals in the first 20 minutes, matching the number of goals that FDU had scored through its six prior games.
But just 17 seconds after the second Knights goal, the Broncs got on the board when senior midfielder Lindsey Maslow scored her second goal in three games in the 20th minute. The goal, Maslow’s second of the season, is a new single-season high for the midfielder, doing so in just six games.
“Lindsey is playing with confidence, so it is great to see. She has really stepped up so far this season,” said Hounsome.
Down by only a goal, the Broncs had a chance to tie, but the Knights didn’t let off on the offensive pressure, pushing their lead back to two goals in the 35th minute with a goal off a penalty kick.
In the second half, the Broncs didn’t fare much better, with FDU scoring two more times in the 63rd and 87th minutes to extend the lead to four goals.
“FDU did a good job of getting a lot of numbers on the attack, which helped them in getting to loose balls, which ended up creating scoring opportunities,” said Maslow. “The score line would have easily been different. The other team just did a good job on capitalizing on their chances.”
Despite the score, for a second straight game, the Broncs put up 15 shots. Five of them came from Maslow, with four of them on goal.
‘We deserve more respect in the conference’
In the final non-conference game of the season, the Broncs traveled to take on St. Francis Brooklyn in the Big Apple, but neither team could reap the fruits of their labor with the game ending in a 1-1 draw on Sept. 11.
“Not our greatest performance today, but the game gave us areas that we still need to improve on,” said Hounsome.
In the 33rd minute, the Broncs once again gave their opponents a penalty shot opportunity. But this time, Broncs junior goalkeeper Ellie Sciancalepore stood tall, saving the shot and the resulting rebound, keeping the score at 0-0.
“Every PK is different, and that’s what is most exciting about them,” said Sciancalepore. “You have to take a new approach for every kick. But, knowing that St. Francis Brooklyn watched our game vs. FDU, where FDU converted a [penalty kick], it was important to remind myself of that and to prepare for the kicker to take a similar approach to FDU’s [penalty kick].”
Despite the save from Sciancalepore, Rider conceded in the first half with just a second left on the clock, when a shot deflected off a Broncs defender and into the net, giving the Terriers a 1-0 lead.
In the second half, the Broncs were given a chance on a freekick in the 68th minute from about 23 yards out. Freshman defender Olivia Smith nailed a perfect shot to secure her first collegiate goal and tie the game at one.
“Honestly the goal felt unreal,” said Smith. “It was exciting, but I’m more happy that we didn’t lose and I was able to contribute more on the attacking end since my position is center back.”
The tie held, giving the Broncs their second tie in three games.
Rider closed out their non-conference play with a record of 3-2-2, and with Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play on the horizon, the Broncs are looking to start out hot.
“With a strong team that is finding our groove, I think we will be able to come out and prove a point in the MAAC this year,” said Sciancalepore. “We all have to leave it out there on the field and find a way to win. We have a full week to tidy some things up, and then we just have to go out and show why we deserve more respect in the conference.”
The Broncs first MAAC play game of the season is coming up on Sept. 17 when the Broncs travel up to Buffalo, New York to take on the Canisius Griffins.