By Caterina Troiani
As back-to-back MAAC champions, the men’s soccer team has an even record of 1-1 to start 2017.
Rider fell to their season opener opponents, Lehigh, although it defeated Seton Hall in the second game of the year.
In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the Broncs had a final score of 3-2 against Lehigh. Redshirt freshman Pablo DeCastro and freshman midfielder Aaron Gabriel each scored one goal in their collegiate debuts. DeCastro also had a total of three shots and three shots on goal while Gabriel had one shot and a shot on goal.
Other game leaders were sophomore forward Clement Bourret who racked up three shots and two assists and Jose Aguinaga, MAAC Preseason Player of the Year, with one shot and one assist.
“We played a poor first half and gifted Lehigh with their first two goals,” said Head Coach Charlie Inverso. “We pressed them in the second half and Gabriel came right in and scored a good goal.”
Four Broncs made their collegiate debuts at Lehigh: Mathis Catanzaro, Sylvain Coco, as well as DeCastro and Gabriel.
Gabriel was the only substitute to come off the bench, the fewest in the last three seasons. Meanwhile, the Broncs outshot Lehigh 12-11, with the Mountain Hawks having a 7-4 advantage in shots on goal.
In the second match of the 2017 season, Rider defeated Seton Hall with a final score of 2-1. DeCastro made his second goal and had two shots on goal. The other goal was scored by sophomore back Arthur Herpreck. Aguinaga and Bourret each lead the game with one assist for the second straight game.
Rider has remained undefeated against the Pirates for the last three years.
Two Broncs made their season debuts while on the road at Seton Hall: junior midfielder Santiago Castro Garcia and sophomore midfielder Chase Ealy. Castro Garcia started the game and played for the first full half. Ealy made his collegiate debut and played a total of 48 minutes on the field.
The Broncs came back strong and scored both of their goals following the halftime intermission. Senior goalkeeper David Pastuna made three saves to assure a victory over Seton Hall. Rider had 15-9 shots and 8-4 shots on goal.
Senior forward Elliott Otmani had a total of six shots with four total on target. Rider took four corner kicks over the Pirates’ two.
Rider took on Temple and was able to come out on top. The Broncs beat them 1-0 and the goal was scored in the 93rd minute by Bourret and assisted by DeCastro.
Two seasons in a row, Rider entered the MAAC Tournament as the second seed and defeated the No. 1 seed in the championship game.
In 2015, the Broncs defeated Monmouth in Orlando. Last year, Rider beat top-ranked Quinnipiac for another conference title and NCAA Tournament berth.