It was a tough weekend for the Rider men’s soccer team (5-8-2 overall, 0-4-2 MAAC) who were unable to hold leads in two crucial MAAC games.
On Sunday, the Broncs traveled to Manhattan (2-10-2 overall, 0-4-1 MAAC) trying to turn the season around. Things were looking bright for the Broncs, who had a 2-0 lead early in the second half.
After a corner kick, freshman Jim Bradley opened up the scoring for the Broncs at 29:01. Bradley also led the Broncs in shots for the game with four.
The Broncs would add to their lead quickly in the second half when freshman Tom Dunn took a pass from sophomore Nico Tramontana, who was able to hit it off his left foot into the side of the goal. It was the first goal of his Rider career.
“It was exciting to score my first college goal,” Dunn said. “I was glad it happened at the start of the second half because it gave us some momentum right away.”
When it appeared that the Broncs would pick up their first win of the MAAC season, things began to turn sour.
Senior midfielder Josh Swett put the Jaspers on the board and cut the lead in half when he was able to score on a penalty kick at 57:19. A little more than six minutes later, senior Dan Cipriano would tie the game at two goals a piece. Sophomore forward Stephen Van Rossem, and senior Adam Kiley had assists on the tying goal.
Neither team scored again for the rest of the half and for two overtimes. While the Broncs were unable to pick up a win, they were still able to manage a tie.
Manhattan outshot Rider 20-14. Junior goalkeeper Randall Zapolski had five saves for the Broncs, while junior John Ciano made four saves of his own for the Jaspers.
Rider beat Manhattan 2-0 last year. The Broncs are leading the 10-year-old series 6-2-4 over the Jaspers.
Last Friday, the Broncs lost a close one to St. Peter’s (10-3-1 overall, 3-1-1 MAAC) in a game that featured 40 shots.
Rider took the lead early when junior A.J. Parillo scored just over five minutes into the game on a pass from senior Lee Tomasso.
“Early on I was able to get my head on the ball off a corner from Lee [Tomasso] and put it away,” Parillo said.
The Peahens would answer right back when sophomore Udi Naim scored at 17:14 with senior midfielder Victor Prada picking up the assist. Naim would then give St. Peter’s the lead at 2-1 just 28 seconds into the second half off a pass from junior midfielder Chris DeAbreu (seven shots).
St. Peter’s put the ball in their own net leading to Rider tying up the game.
Sophomore midfielder Kevin Juska would give Rider the lead when he scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
“I beat the goalie to the ball,” Juska said. “I was able to slide the ball in before the goalie could get there.”
Parillo picked up an assist on the goal.
“Rather than being the receiver, I was on the giving end,” Parillo said. “I crossed a ball that Juska fought through the keeper and a defender to get to. It was a great finish by [Juska].”
Rider had the lead, but they would hear more from Naim.
Naim scored during the 82nd minute with an assist by sophomore defender Michael Atehortua to tie the game at three and take it into overtime. Naim would score his fourth goal of the game 1:12 into the first overtime period with the assist going to senior forward Murphy Wiredu (five shots) to get the Peahens the 4-3 win.
“We were having success beating the St. Peter’s defenders,” Parillo said. “We were able to get the ball to the corners and then have it crossed in. We were a bit out of our element at times, succumbing to pressures of the game, but we were able to dig deep and hold off an intense attack, sending the game into overtime.”
Naim was the story of the game as he accounted for all four of the Peahens goals to go along with his eight shots taken. He was also named MAAC Player of the Week.
This was the second time the Broncs have had to contend with someone who would go on to be the player of the week. The last one was Iona’s junior Aly Lo who scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over the Broncs earlier in the year.
The Broncs were outshot 29-11. Zapolski had 10 saves, and junior goalie Matthew Lawler had six for St. Peter’s.
Rider beat St. Peter’s 2-1 in overtime last year, and has won 19 of the previous 27 meetings in a series that goes back to 1967.
Rider will travels to play Loyola tomorrow.