By Corey Donetz
Coming into last weekend, the men’s soccer team had been on a four-game losing streak. But that, along with numerous injuries, didn’t affect the team in its final weekend of play. The Broncs ended the season on a high note by winning their final two games at Manhattan and St. Peter’s.
On Friday, the Broncs traveled north to play the Jaspers of Manhattan. The game was scoreless until freshman Billy Voutsinas scored in the 33rd minute. Sophomore Sal Lubrano got the assist on the goal, his first of two assists in the game.
Manhattan tied the game at one not long after, but Rider got the lead back on a goal scored by senior Nico Tramontana. That would turn out to be the game winner as Rider went on to win 3-1. This was Tramontana’s last weekend as a part of Rider soccer.
“For my favorite moment, it is hard to focus just on one big one,” he said. “The best moments that I loved and will miss will be playing with some of my closest friends that I have made at Rider. Scoring two goals in one game and having the game-winning goal in that same game my sophomore year was something I will remember. But overall, I will just miss the friendships and constant fun I had with my teammates.”
Tramontana ended his career with 15 goals and 33 points.
Rider then went to Jersey City to play St. Peter’s. This would be the last game of the regular season and an opportunity for the Broncs to end on a high note. The game was a defensive struggle as no team scored in the first 90 minutes and overtime was needed. It wasn’t until there were 19 seconds left in the first overtime that a goal was scored. Freshman Sam Kotowski took a pass from senior Cameron Bertel to score the game-winner, giving the Broncs a 1-0 victory.
“This goal was definitely uplifting for me, personally,” Kotowski said. “But furthermore, it was exciting to contribute to the win because this result put us ahead of St. Peter’s in the final standings. Unfortunately, we don’t have any games left to continue with the momentum of these last two wins, but I think they will contribute significantly toward next year’s season. It is important to know that we are capable of beating these teams and we should go into these matches next year with similar confidence.”
Freshman goalkeeper Matt Perrella also played a superb game and was named MAAC Rookie of the Week for his efforts.
The Broncs still have a young team. All but two players are returning for next season. Ending the season with a positive finish should help for the future. Head Coach Russ Fager certainly has a lot to look forward to next season.
“Finishing on a high note, I believe, will give the boys a bit more confidence entering the winter and spring portion of our training,” he said. “I think they realize that if we had beat Canisius, a team we had dominated throughout the game at home, and if we had beaten either Siena or Marist on the road, we would be playing in the tournament this weekend.”
Fager is optimistic about next year.
“If we can just keep this group of players together, work hard during the offseason, have a good spring and get two or three solid recruits, we will have the nucleus to compete for the conference title,” he said.