By Carlos Toro
A chance at redemption was not enough to extend the women’s soccer team’s season, as it lost to Marist in the first round of the MAAC Tournament on Oct. 29.
Rider lost 1-0 in overtime with the game-winning goal being scored just a little more than a minute into overtime. It was the second time the Broncs lost to the Red Foxes at Ben Cohen Field, with Marist winning the first meeting 2-1 in double overtime on Oct. 15.
Head Coach Drayson Hounsome said Marist brought more pressure throughout the whole game compared to the first time the teams met a couple of weeks ago.
“I think Marist was playing a lot more direct than in the first game,” Hounsome said. “We just needed to play our game.”
The game began with both teams playing aggressively, pushing each other with hard hits and fouls. Rider began the game with junior forward Michelle Iacono attempting a shot 25 seconds into the game, but the shot missed the mark.
Both teams generated opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the game, but each shot was not on target.
It wasn’t until the 20th minute that senior goalkeeper Bethany-May Howard dove to the top of the goal post to block the first shot on target for either team. The shot was taken by Marist junior forward Brianna Robinson just outside the goal box.
The Broncs and the Red Foxes continued trading shots until halftime, finishing with six shot attempts each.
The second half was a much more one-sided affair. Marist kept pushing the ball forward, as Rider slowly retreated to a more defensive stance.
The Broncs did not attempt a shot in the entire second half, as they focused on finding a way to hold the Marist offense in check. However, the Red Foxes continued getting more momentum each time they took one of their seven second-half shots. But Rider’s defense did manage to hold off on losing in regulation, as the score remained scoreless after 90 minutes.
Rider’s defense bent in the second half, but the moment overtime started, it broke. Marist took the ball into Rider’s box and had a shot attempt that was blocked by senior defender Heather Maierle, but Robinson immediately returned a second offering, scoring the game-winning goal while Howard was down in the net.
Robinson also scored the winning goal in the first meeting on Oct. 15 in double overtime to defeat the Broncs. In that first game, Marist came from behind to win, but the Red Foxes didn’t need a comeback to win the second meeting. Rider ended the season with a 1-3-3 record in overtime games.
Rider is now tasked with trying to replace several key players who will graduate after this year, such as forward Caroline Healy, Maierle and Howard. The Broncs finished with nine wins on the season, the seventh consecutive year that Rider has won that many games.
It has been the longest run of success for the program, which included a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history in the 2014 season.
Senior midfielder Hollie Kelsh said that the team’s progress in the past four years has been astounding and that she, and the rest of the senior class, enjoyed their collegiate soccer careers.
“There are many things I will take away from my experience of playing soccer here at Rider and not just one single thing,” Kelsh said. “Nothing is easy in soccer, but as long as you work hard normally, you get the result you’re looking for. Knowing that we all have each other’s back no matter what and we have had good team chemistry over the four years.”
Despite the disappointing end to the season and the loss of these key players, Kelsh believes the team is still primed to do well moving forward.
“I am sure the team will do big things next year, especially after the heartbreak of this season,” Kelsh said. “The team knows what it feels like to lose in a playoff game now and I’m confident they will move forward from the experience positively and do everything they can to reach not only the semifinals, but also the final next fall.”