By Simon Grangereau
Early leads are often hard to hold on to in a 90-minute game. For the women’s soccer team, time was on its side as the Broncs fought to come back, knocking off Marist 2-1 in conference play on Sunday. The win pushed Rider to 5-8 overall and gave them their first MAAC win of the season (1-4).
Marist (5-6-2 overall, 2-3-1 MAAC) scored just 9:24 into the contest off a corner kick. After this point, senior captain Kate Murphy took the game into her own hands, netting the equalizer 22 minutes in and then scoring the game-winner in the 64th minute.
“I got a layoff pass from [freshman] Claire [Thompson], looked up and saw the keeper off her line,” Murphy said. “I took a one-time shot that chipped the keeper. I just wanted to keep it on frame. I wasn’t really thinking about anything else. Scoring goals really wasn’t all that important for me individually. I think the greatest feeling yesterday was knowing we played hard, capitalized and got our first conference win.”
Murphy’s first goal of the day — her third of the season — came after Marist’s goalkeeper bobbled a shot. Murphy was at the right place at the right time, as she crashed the goal and managed to put it away for the Broncs.
Her second tally, which clinched the game, came off of an assist from Thompson who fed a perfect through-ball to Murphy. Murphy hit a leftfooted chip to put the ball over the keeper’s head and into the net. Despite being outshot by the Brown Foxes, 14-10, the Broncs were able to hold the lead and capture their first MAAC victory of the season.
Friday’s matchup with Siena (10-2 overall, 4-1 MAAC) was Rider’s first home loss of the season after compiling a 3-0 record on home turf. Unfortunately, the Broncs came up short on their fourth home game of the season, falling 3-0 to the Saints.
The Saints entered the matchup with an impressive résumé, coming to Lawrenceville second in the MAAC in goals, assists and points. They also possess one of the league’s top goalkeepers, sophomore Laura Ettinger, who is second in the conference in save percentage.
The Broncs had to make changes early as an elbow injury forced junior defender Kara Perkoski to be sidelined four minutes in, which pushed freshman forward Kaitlin Wylie to defense to anchor a solid back line.
“I hadn’t played in the back in over five years,” Wylie said. “I just tried to play my best and help the team out in any way I could. I actually like playing in the back.”
Siena scored two first half goals just nine minutes apart to put the Broncs on their heels.The Saints then struck once more in the second half en route to the victory.
Junior Alex Post made one save for the Broncs which gives her 27 on the season to go along with three wins in 10 starts. Senior Natalie Sica compiled three of Rider’s eight shots on goal. She now has 11 shots total this year, six coming on goal.
The Broncs take to the road this weekend to face Fairfield today at 7 p.m., and Iona on Sunday at noon.
By Simon Grangereau