Freshman midfielder makes statement in home opener
By Shaun Chornobroff
Battling the heat in his first game at Rider’s Ben Cohen Field, midfielder Mo Bocher entered Rider’s match against the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) for injured graduate student defender Jeremy Peterson, a hair under 10 minutes into the game.
Within a minute of entering his third college soccer game, he helped facilitate Rider’s opening goal.
Then, with 15 minutes left in the first half, the 5-foot-9 midfielder showcased a flair and confidence beyond his years.
Bocher received the ball six-yards from the opposing goal, then executed a clever backheel shot that not only got past the defense, but the NJIT goalkeeper, who could do nothing but pick the ball from Bocher’s first Rider goal out of the net.
“It felt really good. I’m glad I got my first goal with my teammates supporting me,” the freshman said with a smile after the match.
Despite Bocher netting Rider’s second goal of the game, the Broncs left their home opener with a 2-2 draw against NJIT.
Thanks to Bocher’s moment of genius, Rider exited the first half with a 2-1 lead. However, the Highlanders equalized in the 64th minute.
Bocher was once again subbed on in the 72nd minute with the Broncs hoping to net a game-winner.
In the 84th minute, the Ohio native received the ball just outside the box and played a perfectly weighted pass to sophomore defender Tom Skrocki, who was surging into the box and promptly fouled, giving Rider a penalty kick and a golden chance to secure the win.
Unfortunately for Bocher and his team, NJIT goalkeeper Samuel Reisgys made the save on a penalty kick from Babacar Diene.
Nonetheless, Bocher, who did not appear in Rider’s first three games, had made a statement.
“He was a guy who, for a lack of a better term, was out of the picture, then he did what we tell guys all the time. We say ‘catch our attention in training,’” Head Coach Charlie Inverso said of Bocher, who played a season high of 63 minutes on Sunday. “There’s no magic formula to it. He’s playing well, and when we’ve put him into the game, he’s responded.”
The draw drops Rider, who started its season with a gauntlet of a non-conference schedule, to 1-4-1 on the season with only a road match against Princeton on Sept. 23 before starting Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) play on its home turf against Manhattan on Sept. 28.