By Brian Sommer
Last week, the Broncs (6-4-1 1-1-1 MAAC) went on the road for two MAAC games, one against St. Peter’s (2-4-4, 0-0-2 MAAC) on Oct. 9, and one on Oct. 12 against Iona (4-5-2, 1-1-1 MAAC).
The first against St. Peter’s was a hard-fought game between the two teams, which resulted in a 1-1 double overtime tie for the Broncs.
Rider opened up the game 1-0 with a goal 3:25 into the first half off a corner kick from freshman midfielder Christian Flath, headed in by sophomore Sonimi Halliday, his third goal of the season. Flath, the MAAC Rookie of the Week, leads the conference with 16 points.
The Broncs, however, could not close out the game. St. Peter’s scored off a corner kick with only 12 minutes left in the second half, which would eventually send the game to overtime.
Rider was aggressive in overtime and outshot St. Peter’s 4-1 but could not find the back of the net, tying 1-1.
Freshman midfielder Aaron Freeman said the Broncs were unable to capitalize when it mattered most.
“We played hard until the very end, but did not take advantage of our opportunities,” Freeman said.
Following their matchup against the Peacocks, the Broncs traveled to Iona to take on the Gaels.
Halliday could not stress enough how important these conference games are to the team.
“Each game is extremely critical, it is almost like a completely new season after finishing non-conference games,” Halliday said.
The Gaels struck first, scoring in the 24th and 36th minutes of the first half, jumping out to a 2-0 lead over the Broncs. The Broncs would not be shutout, scoring with 30 minutes left in the second half. Freshman back Warren Holmes found the back of the net on a corner kick from freshman midfielder Travis Nitti.
Rider had plenty of opportunities to tie the game. However, Iona struck back with a goal with only eight minutes left in the second half. At the end of regulation, the Broncs fell to the Gaels 3-1. Head Coach Charlie Inverso is proud of his team’s strong start, but realizes there may be some growing pains with such an inexperienced squad.
“We definitely are the youngest team in the conference, and one of the youngest, if not the youngest in the country,” Inverso said.
Though Rider may have started strong this season, Inverso believes that his team will need to work harder to continue its success.
“We have to learn to play as close to 90 minutes of good soccer as possible,” Inverso said. “We have to see who is ready to roll up their sleeves and work hard, and that all starts in training.”
The Broncs continue their MAAC games this week facing Monmouth on Oct. 16 (3-5-3, 2-0-1 MAAC) and Manhattan on Oct. 19 (1-7-1, 1-0-1 MAAC) in hopes of stealing two wins to rise to the top of the conference.