By Steve Eggert
The Rider men’s soccer team (3-12-2) entered this year’s MAAC tournament with absolutely nothing to lose. With only positives to gain from the experience, the Broncs played a strong game and upended Canisius Thursday by a score of 2-1 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Junior Dan Friga scored the decisive goal for the Broncs in the second half after his teammate, freshman Matt Veltri, tied the score at 1-1.
Head Coach Charlie Inverso was excited to get the win and he compared this game against Canisius to the previous one on Senior Day.
“I think we’ve matured a little bit since then,” Inverso said. “We’ve had so many close losses and overall as a team we matured. It’s a good sign that we’re making some progress.”
The Broncs showed that they have the passion to make a deep run in the tournament.
Senior Sal Lubrano is happy the team is peaking at the right time.
“It showed us that we can compete with anyone in the conference, and we know teams fear playing us in the MAAC because we’re not the pushover team we used to be,” Lubrano said. “Our confidence is pretty good and I think with a little luck we can possibly make a very good run.”
With the victory against the Golden Griffs, the Broncs will take on a tougher task in the top-seeded Fairfield Stags today at 1:45 p.m. on ESPN3. Rider hosted Fairfield (9-4-1, 8-0-1 MAAC) during the regular season and lost when the Stags scored in the final minute and eventually again in overtime.
Inverso is looking forward to having a shot at redemption when they meet up with Fairfield again, this time with more on the line, though.
“Another game we lost, they tied it up with 56 seconds left to go,” Inverso said. “They have a huge team, they probably average about 6’2”. We have to not worry so much about whey they did and we just got to concern ourselves with the things we do well.”