By Jeffrey Abbott
On Sept. 14, the Broncs (2-1-1) took on Bryant (2-4) and won 3-0 in front of the home fans at Ben Cohen Field. This game followed a season-opening three-game road trip in which the Broncs went 1-1-1.
Rider lost to Robert Morris 3-0 in the season opener on Aug. 31, which wasn’t exactly what the Broncs were looking for, but they weren’t going to let that get them down.
In their second game of the year on Sept. 5 against St. Joseph’s (3-1-2), the Broncs would finish the match against the Hawks in a 1-1 tie. Junior forward Justin Veltri scored the equalizer in the 87th minute and neither team could score during the remainder of regulation or in either period of overtime.
On Sept. 10, the Broncs defeated LIU Brooklyn 5-2. Head Coach Charlie Inverso thought this helped the team’s morale, as the team only scored one goal in the previous two games.
“I think we gained some confidence in our ability to score goals because that’s been a major weakness here for a long time,” Inverso said. “We missed some close chances. If everything fell our way, we could have had seven in the first half.”
Sophomore midfielder Christian Flath had two goals and an assist, while senior forward Ryan Walsh, junior back Sonimi Halliday, and sophomore back Warren Holmes each had one goal in the win.
After practice on Sept. 12, two days before the game against Bryant, Inverso gave the opponent credit, but recognized the Broncs had the ability to do well against them.
“Bryant’s a good team,” Inverso said. “We beat them up [in Rhode Island] 2-1 last year, but they were a penalty kick away from going to the NCAA tournament last year. I think it’s going to be a good game for us. It’s going to be a battle.”
During the match against Bryant, neither team had complete control of the game. Each team was a pass or two away from scoring multiple times throughout the contest. It wasn’t until there were about five minutes left in the first half when Rider took the upper hand and was within inches of putting the first goal into the back of the net.
After a halftime talk by Inverso, the Broncs came out hungry, and in the 49th minute, sophomore forward Zach Bond scored to give his team the lead. Ten minutes later, Flath put a penalty kick into the back of the net to extend the lead to 2-0.
Then in the 82nd minute, sophomore midfielder Adrien Huss scored the third Bronc goal to give Flath his second assist of the day and help assure victory for Rider. Inverso was very happy about the Broncs not letting up on the offense and scoring an insurance goal.
“A 2-0 lead sometimes you can’t hold onto,” he said. “So the third goal was the icing on the cake.”
Halliday was pleased that the team was able to get a win in front of a home crowd.
“I’m feeling really good. This is our home turf and we want to win every game here if possible,” Halliday said.
Rider will now face off against St. Bonaventure on Sept. 21 and looks forward to a big crowd turnout.