By Thomas Albano
Having already been eliminated from postseason contention, the Broncs still battled during the final two games of this season — a Nov. 6 match against Canisius and a Nov. 9 match against Quinnipiac — in hopes of having a winning record for the first time since 1998.
The Broncs (8-9-1, 3-6-1 MAAC) were unable to clinch that, but were able to secure the most wins in a season since 2000. The history-clinching victory occurred when the Broncs defeated Canisius 2-1.
Head Coach Charlie Inverso said he is proud of the team’s accomplishments this year.
“We have only one senior and eight freshmen that see regular playing time,” he said. “I think this team overachieved this year for sure. We were picked to finish last in the conference and we played both conference co-champs to pretty much even games on our field, so I think moving forward we are very optimistic.”
Rider’s first goal came in the 17th minute by freshman midfielder Christian Flath, who scored following an assist from sophomore forward Justin Veltri. The goal was Flath’s sixth this season, ranking him fourth in the MAAC with 20 points. Flath is also second in the MAAC with eight assists.
The Griffs (7-9-2, 3-6-1 MAAC) then tied the game toward the end of the first half to bring the score even at 1-1. The only goal of the second half came from Veltri, assisted by freshman midfielder Travis Nitti, with 11 minutes remaining.
Freshman goalkeeper David Pastuna recorded five saves, including one on a penalty kick.
The Broncs, however, came up short in a double-overtime loss to the co-regular season champions Quinnipiac, losing 1-0.
In the first half, Rider had six shots, but was unable to find the back of the net. In the second half, and the two overtime periods, Quinnipiac dominated the Broncs, outshooting them 14-5.
Senior back Eric Elgin, playing in his final game, gave his team great praise for its performance.
“I am extremely proud of our team this season,” he said. “All of the guys worked hard day in and day out, and even though we weren’t satisfied with missing the playoffs, we exceeded everyone’s expectations and were competitive in all of our games this season. This season was definitely a step in the right direction to get the team back to its winning tradition.”
Inverso said he will miss Elgin’s leadership and personality.
“In the 34 years that I have been coaching college soccer, he might be the best human being that I have ever coached,” Inverso said. “Sadly, he walks through the campus almost anonymously. He played Saturday night against the conference co-champs with knowledge that his grandfather was gravely sick and may not make it through the night, and he played the best game of his career.”