By Stephen Neukam
The women’s soccer team exited the week winless and slipped to fifth in the conference, drawing at Fairfield 1-1 and losing to Marist 1-0 at home.
Rider, on the heels of its first away defeat of the season at Niagara, traveled to Fairfield on Sept. 26 looking to right the course.
The match began slowly, culminating in a scoreless first half of action. The deadlock was broken in the 79th minute when Fairfield was awarded a penalty and converted from the spot.
This marked the second time in as many games that Rider had conceded a penalty kick, despite not allowing any through the first eight games of the season.
The Broncs would save the fireworks for late in the game, when junior midfielder Valeria Pascuet collected a pass from freshman midfielder Sarah Gellert and fired the ball past the goalkeeper with just 28 seconds left in regulation.
The goal forced the game into overtime, in which Rider had a 2-0-1 record in entering the contest. This was the first overtime match for the Broncs since their opening three games of the season, which all went into extra time.
The overtime period saw each team generate shots on goal but neither team proved clinical enough and the game finished in a 1-1 draw.
This was the second tie ever between the two teams.
Pascuet added to her goal total for the season, which sits at second on the team with four. She also draws even with senior forward Kourtney Cunningham for the team lead in points with 12.
“This was a very challenging game, so to come away with a point is okay,” said Head Coach Drayson Hounsome. “We created a lot of good chances but were caught offside too many times. It is something we can focus on improving.”
Following the draw, Rider returned home for the first time in a week to face Marist on Sept. 29.
Sophomore goalkeeper Carmen Carbonell was the hero of the first half, posting six saves in an effort that kept the game scoreless through the opening 45 minutes.
The resistance would prove futile in the 63rd minute, however, as the Red Foxes capitalized off of Carbonell’s seventh save that bounced off her hands and was sent into the net by a Marist player.
Rider continued to press the Red Foxes defense, letting off seven shots in the second half but failing to convert. Marist would see the game out and leave Lawrenceville with a 1-0 victory.
“They killed us in the first half,” said Hounsome. “We looked tired. That’s what happens.”
The loss saw Rider’s overall record drop to 5-4-2 and its conference record to 1-2-1.
Carbonell’s seven saves brings her season total up to 72, which is the most in the MAAC, five more than Siena’s Taylor Dorado.
Rider was playing without freshman defender Niamh Cashin, who was called up to the England National Team ahead of the Union of European Football Association U19 Championship. The team will play three matches in Croatia in the first round of qualifying.
England won its opening match, defeating Malta 9-0 on Oct. 1. Cashin was not named in the starting lineup but entered the game as a substitute in the 71st minute.
The MAAC standings are beginning to take shape, with Quinnipiac alone at the top with a total of 10 points.
Monmouth and Marist follow with nine points each while Niagara sits behind those two schools with seven points. Rider joins Canisius and Manhattan with four points in the standings.
The Broncs will continue conference play when they travel to Iona on Oct. 3 at 3 p.m. to face the Gaels.