By Logan VanDine
The men’s soccer team was not deterred by poor weather on March 18, beating the Iona Gaels 1-0, securing a record of 2-0 to start an unconventional spring season.
The game was scoreless until freshman Guillame Vacter was able to break the ice off, with an assist from senior midfielder Taner Bay, and score the game’s only goal on a free kick in the 54 minute.
It was enough, as Vacter, who was named Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Co-Rookie of the Week and the rest of the Rider defense, helped the Broncs record their second consecutive shutout.
“On each free kick we were dangerous because the Iona defenders were very high on the field and there was a lot of space in their back. This week we worked on the free kicks and we all knew where Taner was supposed to put the ball,” said Vacter of his first-career goal. “Taner gave a very good ball and I just ran where I saw the space and just touched the ball. The game was close without many occasions to score, so the free kicks were the good way to score.”
Although the weather was unfavorable, Head Coach Charlie Inverso said sometimes the conditions play a factor.
“We always tell them the two things we don’t want them to take them out of the game, the referee and the weather,” Inverso said. “So yes, sometimes the teams show up adversely with the weather and the other thing was sometimes it is hard with the ball skipping a little bit, but I don’t think it really impacted either team all that much.”
Vacter echoed Inverso’s thoughts.
“I think for a soccer player the weather doesn’t mean anything. If we want to be a good team and have a good season we can’t change our mind just if it’s raining, so I think we played with the same energy as if it was good weather,” Vacter explained.
After a tightly-contested first half, Inverso spoke about the halftime conversation and the adjustments he thought they needed to have a victory at the final whistle.
“We wanted to get guys up higher and be a little bit more daring and getting behind the defense and getting more people in the box,” Inverso said. “You know it’s difficult to get goals in if you don’t have people in the box, so I think we made a good adjustment with that.”
The shutout was the team’s second-consecutive shutout to start the season, a reward for the effort that the defenders put in for 90 minutes.
“For me, all the players on this team are on the same path and want the same thing, despite a lot of internationals we all are good friends and we want to win together,” Vacter said. “We know that we have good players and with the good spirit in this team we can make a good season.”
Senior goalkeeper Pablo Gatinois had three saves in the contest.
Vacter has bonded with his upperclassmen teammates during his first year in Lawrencevillle .
“I mean, I don’t see a lot of differences on the field between freshmans or seniors. As French, my older teammates help me with the language or help me to understand some tactics that I can’t understand. But the older teammates are very important to communicate and lead the team,” Vacter said.
The Broncs will now hit the road for the first time this season as they head to West Long Branch, New Jersey, to take on Monmouth on March 25.