By Trey Wright
Rider men’s soccer went winless in a brutal week against two strong conference opponents. After a two game win streak, the Broncs dropped points in games to Marist on Oct. 13 4-2, and tied against Saint Peter’s 3-3 in double overtime.
After two straight wins against tough Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) opponents, Rider faced off against the Marist Red Foxes, one of the top teams in the conference.
The Red Foxes struck the first two minutes into the match, with a shot going just past junior goaltender Guillaume Veinante.
Rider tied up the match in the 25th minute, as the ball flicked off the boot of senior forward Zaki Alibou, past the out-of-position goaltender for his eighth goal of the season.
Marist retook the lead seven minutes later, The goal was initially called offside, but that was rescinded by the referees, putting the Red Foxes up 2-1.
The largest dagger in the back for the Broncs came in the 33rd minute, in which graduate student Ty Moore was dealt a red card for an aggressive slide tackle near the midfield line.
“It was really hard,” said Head Coach Charlie Inverso, “We did things to get ourselves back in the game, but we keep making the same mistakes. We’ve hurt ourselves defensively.”
Marist extended the lead in the 51st minute to 3-1, but the Broncs cut the deficit back to just a lone goal five minutes later, off of a shot from junior defender Lenny Cidolit.
Marist sealed the game in the 69th minute though and kept Rider at bay until 90 minutes were up, with the Broncs falling 4-2.
On Oct. 16, Rider faced off against one of it’s MAAC, and in-state, rivals in the Peacocks of Saint Peter’s.
The Peacocks, with a record of 5-7, entered the matchup on a wet Ben Cohen Field, took the opening kickoff, and almost right from the get-go things began to get chippy on the pitch between the two competitors, with Rider being awarded a free-kick six minutes into the game.
Saint Peter’s found the back of the net first, a turnover in the Broncs’ end to make the score 1-0 in the 14th minute.
An identical situation occurred two minutes later, putting Rider down two goals in the first 20 minutes.
Rider was able to break the ice with an incredible free-kick from sophomore midfielder Adel Al-Masude finding the left side of the goal.
“I’m happy to have the team back in the game,” Al-Masude said. “Everybody trusts me for the free-kicks, I practice a lot for them.”
Rider came out of halftime ready to fight, and so did freshman defender Tom Skrocki, who netted his first goal in NCAA competition, tying up the game in the 51st minute.
“It’s amazing,” Skrocki said of the goal after the match. “I’ve dreamt about it in my sleep and now it came true, so I’m happy, and want to keep doing well for Rider.”
The Peacocks responded seconds later with a bullet shot tearing past Veinante, but graduate student back Sergio Aguinaga, who had the assist on Skrocki’s goal, answered with a low shot, retying the game at 3-3.
“It was a competitive game. You’re gonna have guys getting in late for tackles, and that’s what happens” said Inverso. “I think both teams played really hard.”
Veinante had an unbelievable save in the 59th minute, and 90 minutes would not be enough to decide this contest.
After two overtimes, a few shoving matches, a yellow card on Rider and several great scoring opportunities for both teams, the final horn sounded, and the game ended tied at 3-3
“I think we deserved the win tonight. I think we deserved three points,” said Inverso. “I thought we made a great comeback, coming back from down 2-0, and we did it with three guys that haven’t been getting a lot of playing time. I was very proud of the effort and I thought there [were] probably four really, really good chances that we had to put it away.”
Rider, now with a record of 5-5-2, faces off against Fairfield University at home on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.