By Aliyaah Lindsey
The 2014 women’s soccer MAAC Champions started their title defense on Aug. 23 with a trip to Mount St. Mary’s.
Freshman forward Kourtney Cunningham had a breakout game in her collegiate debut., scoring two of Rider’s three goals.
Just 10 minutes into the game, Cunningham scored a goal. Cunningham continued her hot streak, scoring in the last 15 minutes of the game to break a 1-1 tie off an assist from freshman midfielder Sam Picinich.
Junior forward Michelle Lacono would later add to the scoring, netting a goal of her own to put the Broncs up 3-1.
Cunningham was awarded MAAC Rookie of the Week as a result of her debut performance.
“It was very exciting to be named Rookie of the Week as a player,” she said, “but it was a great feeling winning as a team. I feel all individual accomplishments can only be reached when the whole team works as one.”
Rider was able to out-shoot Mount St. Mary’s 22-12.
The Mount (0-2, NEC) scored their first goal off a penalty kick halfway through the game, while their second came late in the second half.
Junior goalkeeper Bethany-May Howard had seven saves. Her play also translated into the next game, where she made a career high 15 saves against Fairleigh Dickinson (1-1, NEC) on Aug. 27.
“The season is a process so we play some very tough teams that will test us for confidence,” says Head Coach Drayson Hounsome.
In the game against the defending NEC Champions, the Broncs were unable to grab another road win.
FDU scored the first goal of the game in the second half.
Senior midfielder Tara Ballay helped Rider tie the game with just two minutes left with an assist from sophomore forward Ellie Smith, sending Rider and FDU into overtime.
Fairleigh broke the tie in the 106th minute, ending the game 2-1.
Rider then traveled to Philadelphia on Sept. 1 to compete against Temple.
Temple (4-0) took the lead in the first half. However, sophomore Emily Schmitt was able to score and tie the game with 26 minutes left in the second half.
Temple scored the final goal of the game with 13 minutes remaining in the game, to take the win 2-1.
Rider then traveled down the road to face St. Joseph’s on Sept. 6.
In just the first 10 minutes of the game, St. Joseph’s was able to score and take the lead of the game 1-0.
In the first six minutes of the second half, the Hawks scored twice, ending the game 3-0.
The Broncs host Delaware State in their first home game of the season at Ben Cohen Field on Sept. 9.