By Caterina Troiani
The Broncs had a split week against Villanova and Long Island University Brooklyn. Sophomore back Sylvain Coco was named the MAAC men’s soccer Rookie of the Week following his game-winning goal against La Salle. Coco was not the only Bronc to win the award this season. The previous week, redshirt freshman forward Pablo DeCastro also was honored. This Rider team is filled with talent as TopDrawerSoccer.com ranks senior forward Jose Aguinaga, sophomore forward Clement Bourret, senior forward Elliott Otmani and sophomore back Arthur Herpreck among the top 20 players in the MAAC.
The Broncs reinstated six starters this season from their second consecutive MAAC Championship squad in 2016. Included were the top three goal scorers from 2016: Otmani (six goals, eight assists), Aguinaga (five goals, nine assists) and Bourret (eight goals, two assists). In its 20 years involved in the conference, Rider has been awarded four MAAC championship titles. Going back-to-back in its first two years in the league (1997-98) and in the most recent seasons (2016-17).
The Villanova Wildcats visited Ben Cohen Field on Sept. 13 and took the win. Villanova scored off a penalty kick in the first half and made their second goal within the 57th minute. Both teams had four shots on goal.
Senior goalkeeper David Pastuna made two saves for the Broncs while his counterpart, Will Steiner, had four. Otmani took four shots, making a team-high for this season, along with one shot on goal. Bourret made two shots and one on goal. Rider took six corner shots, surpassing the Wildcats’ four. Five yellow cards were shown in the second half, three to Villanova and two to Rider.
Rider defeated LIU Brooklyn 2-1 in double overtime at home on Saturday.
In the 17th minute, Otmani got the Broncs on the board by getting a deflected ball out of a corner and into the right upper corner of the net, making his second goal of the season.
After nearly a scoreless hour, the Broncs earned a free kick outside the top of the 18-yard box. Catanzaro lined it up and made a golden goal in the left corner of the net. Freshman back Sergio Aguinaga made his Rider debut and played 31 minutes. Redshirt freshman midfielder Mathis Catanzaro scored the game-winning goal in the 107th minute, his first collegiate goal.
Rider had an 11-2 advantage over LIU Brooklyn in corner kicks. The Broncs also had a 5-3 lead in shots on goal with a 17-7 margin in total shots for the game. Each team was given three yellow cards. The Broncs rose to 4-2-0 with this win, while the Blackbirds fell 0-4-1.
The next men’s soccer game is on Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. at Farleigh Dickinson.