By Paige McAtee
The Rider women’s soccer team got back on track with a pair of wins against two MAAC competitors, Saint Peter’s and Manhattan, this past weekend.
“Our expectations were to win both games,” said head coach Drayson Hounsome. “We knew that was necessary in order to keep our playoff hopes alive.”
Rider (8-7-2, 4-4 MAAC) met its goal by defeating Saint Peter’s (3-14, 0-7 MAAC) on Friday, 2-1, in its first of two wins.
“The conditions were extremely challenging to perform at the level we expect of the team, due to the heavy winds blowing across the pitch,” Hounsome said. “It was mostly about having the character to dig out a win.”
Rider was behind one goal until eight minutes were left in the first half, when sophomore defender Angela Monaco scored the first goal of her career as a Bronc. Monaco was assisted by senior mid-fielder Kimberly Reichel, who had her fourth assist of the season.
The Broncs took the lead with 1:20 left in the game when freshman Jennifer Meier scored her sixth goal of the season, which was her first game-winner.
Sophomore Abi Cottam made a 30-yard pass to assist Meier, who then kicked it high over the goalie’s head to win the game.
Saint Peter’s had three shots in the final minutes of the game. One hit the cross bar and two were saved by senior goalkeeper Alex Post.
Rider has played against Saint Peter’s 15 times since the start of the MAAC in 1997, and has dominated the series, winning 12 games.
On Sunday morning, the Broncs competed against Manhattan (4-12-1, 2-5 MAAC) and came out victorious with a 1-0 win.
“I thought we put together our most complete performance of the season to date,” Hounsome said. “We really dominated Manhattan for the entire match.”
Cottam scored the only goal of the game 25 minutes in for her eighth goal of the season. Freshman Bridgette Bartkowski made an impressive crossover to Cottam, making it her fifth assist of the season.
“Some of the soccer we played was of a very high level,” Hounsome said.
Post had her fifth shutout of the season — the 11th shutout of her career — making four saves.
Rider had 22 shots on goal to Manhattan’s 11. The Broncs also out-shot the Jaspers in the first half, 15-6, and in the second half, 9-4.
Hounsome has optimistic goals and expectations for his team for the remainder of the season.
“Our goal is to win the conference championship and earn the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament,” he said. “We know we must win on Saturday to have a chance to make the four-team MAAC conference tournament.”
The graduating seniors will be honored Saturday before their final home game against Loyola (MD) at 1 p.m.