By Melissa Kasiarz
For the men’s soccer team, wins have been hard to come by. The Broncs dropped two more games against Niagara (8-4-4, 3-2-3 MAAC) and Canisius (4-11-1, 2-5-1 MAAC) last weekend, dropping their record to 3-11-1 and 2-5 in the MAAC.
The Broncs will be looking for redemption this weekend as they look to improve upon their MAAC record. They will be facing off against Marist (6-6-4, 2-4-1 MAAC) and Siena (4-8-2, 1-4-2 MAAC). Rider lost both contests against these teams last season.
“I’m going to match the intensity from this past weekend going into Marist and Siena,” junior goalie Matt Perrella said. “We need two wins and everyone, including myself, needs to bring their best performances of the season.”
Last weekend, Niagara defeated the Broncs in shutout fashion, 3-0. Rider was unable to rally two days later, when it took on Canisius. The Griffs didn’t break the 0-0 deadlock until 11 minutes into the second half when a penalty kick was awarded and converted. The goal from the spot would prove to be the game-winning goal even though the Purple Eagles would tack on two more goals.
Corey Diamond, a graduate student, was confident in his teams play against the MAAC rivals.
“Against Niagara, we completely dominated the first half and should have put them away when we had the chance. The second half we came out flat and gave away two goals because of mental mistakes.”
The Broncs, who celebrated Senior Day prior to the game against Canisius, focused its attention on getting a positive result. Rider held the lead for virtually the whole game before the final three minutes in the second half, where a window of opportunity opened for the Griffs. They were able to find the back of the net, and the game would head into overtime.
In the overtime period, an errant rebound spelled trouble for the Broncs. After junior goalkeeper Matt Perrella made a save, the ball landed on the foot of an attacking Canisius forward, who put the ball in the back of the net.
“Against Canisius, we really went into the game fired up for the seniors,” Perrella said. “We all agreed that getting a win for them was the top priority after all they have done for this program. Once again, we played very strong in the first half and we just couldn’t finish it off. We are going through the growing pains and [we’re] all confident that soon enough things will go our way.”
Heading into the final weekend, the Broncs must record wins and Diamond understands that.
“As far as the weekend, we need two wins and we are looking at both games as must-win contests to land a first-round bye in the MAAC Championships, which has been our goal all along,” he said. “Both games are capable of being won. It is just a matter of playing well for 90 minutes, opposed to 80 minutes, and learning to finish games off.”