By Austin Boland-Ferguson
The soccer team dropped their first match of the season against Connecticut on August 30, 2-0.
The Broncs found themselves shut out at full time in the out-of-conference meeting against the Huskies. The match was a first for the two programs in their respective histories.
The game started off rather quietly until the 20th minute, when Moussa Wade and Dayonn Harris assisted Jordan Hall for his first goal of the season, putting Connecticut up 1-0.
Another score wasn’t seen until the 55th minute, where Harris and Felix Metzler assisted Hall for his second goal of the game and the season and gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
The second score from Hall was the last of the match, ending a quiet offensive night for Rider.
The Broncs attempted 12 shots against Connecticut, though they only steered three of those shots on goal. Their 25 percent accuracy went up against a Huskies team that put more than half of their shots on goal, seeing five of their nine shots head in the goalkeeper’s direction.
Redshirt junior forward Pablo DeCastro led the way for Rider’s offense, attempting four shots throughout the match.
Head coach Charlie Inverso attributed a strong Connecticut performance to the loss.
“We played one of the best programs in college soccer and stayed with them for the whole game,” Inverso said. “They are an excellent team and Jordan Hall is one of the best forwards in the country.”
At the time of the matchup, the Huskies were ranked No. 26 nationally, just missing the top 25 to start the season.
Inverso’s review-in-short of the opening match gave an optimistic view to Rider’s future for the rest of this season.
“You never want to lose, but this was a real good showing for us,” Inverso said. “We represented Rider well in front of the UConn fans.”
A Bronc making their debut against Connecticut was freshman midfielder Matt Araujo, who received a real taste of competition in his first collegiate match.
“It’s a lot different than the academy experience,” Araujo said. “A lot of stronger players and a quicker pace, it’s a good game to start with [against Connecticut].”
The Broncs look to bounce back from the opening loss and grind out a strong campaign similar to that of their 2018 season, when Rider took home the MAAC championship and competed in the NCAA tournament.
The Broncs were scheduled to play at Ben Cohen field on Sept. 4 for their home opener against Central Connecticut State (CCS), but the match was cancelled on Sept. 3 because CCS was unable to field a team. The game will not be rescheduled, according to Rider Athletics. Other notable out-of-conference matchups include a Sep. 11 matchup at Princeton, followed by a home matchup with LaSalle on Sept. 14.
MAAC conference play begins for Rider on October 2 when they travel to Connecticut to take on Fairfield. Rider’s other notable conference matchups include a Mayor’s Cup bout against Canisius and a Maynard Cup game against Marist on Senior Day, October 26. Rider’s final matchup of the season presents a rematch of the 2018 MAAC championship game when they take on Iona at Ben Cohen Field. The Broncs defeated the Bobcats 1-0 last Nov. to clinch the conference crown.