By Aliyaah Lindsey
The women’s soccer team hosted conference rivals Niagara on Oct. 14 as junior goalkeeper Bethany-May Howard picked up yet another shutout.
In just 19 minutes, Rider (8-5, 5-2 MAAC) scored the only goal of the game. Junior forward Hollie Kelsh assisted freshman back Meghan McCabe on a header off a corner kick to take the lead and victory, 1-0.
This marks McCabe’s fourth goal of the season, and Kelsh’s eighth assist, more than any player in the MAAC.
Howard had three saves for the day. Niagara (6-5-2, 4-2 MAAC) out-shot the Broncs 14-4 and 3-2 in shots on the goal. However, the Purple Eagles’ efforts fell short.
This is the first time in three years that the Broncs have beaten Niagara.
Rider then traveled to the Bronx to face Manhattan (9-3-2, 5-0-2 MAAC) in a double-overtime, scoreless draw on Oct. 17.
Kelsh gave credit to Manhattan’s style of defense.
“Manhattan was a very difficult team to break down due to the way they defended as a team,” she said. “They defended with 10 players behind the ball, and made the final third [of the field] very tight and compact. It was tough for us to get the ball into the 18-yard box and score.
Howard and the Broncs battled one of the top five goalkeepers in the nation, Kristen Skonieczny, who finished with two saves.
Howard had seven saves on the day; however, because of a bloody nose in the last five minutes of the game, left the field early. Freshman goalkeeper Amy Kozlowski came in for Howard in the last five minutes.
Kozlowski made it clear that she was not nervous entering the game, and was ready to go about her business.
“I really didn’t have time to think about anything before I was told to go in. I wasn’t really afraid, though; I was ready to play,” she said. “Thankfully, I didn’t have to do much in goal anyway.”
Manhattan out-shot the Broncs 18-10 with seven shots on goal. The Jaspers have yet to defeat Rider in six years, but Rider narrowly leads the all time series 8-7-4.
Although Kelsh credited the Jaspers, she mentioned that the Broncs didn’t give Manhattan’s goalie much to work with.
“They were definitely a challenge for us,” she said. “However, their keeper didn’t have to do much because we didn’t really have many shots on goal.”
The Broncs will host their final home game of the regular season Oct. 24 against Fairfield, last year’s MAAC runner-up.
Kozlowksi mentioned her team’s lofty goal for this season.
“We are working really hard for this week,” she said. “As a team, we’d love to go undefeated at home for the regular season.”
As for Kelsh, she feels her team is in good shape heading into another MAAC game.
“We have been working hard and analyzing the areas we can exploit Fairfield on,” she said. “We are all looking forward to playing them again, because the last time we faced them was in the MAAC Final.