By Stephen Neukam
The frustration continued Saturday night for the women’s soccer team as they traveled to Poughkeepsie, New York, to face Marist in their MAAC season opener. The Broncs, who have yet to notch a win this campaign, were looking to steer their season in the right direction by picking up a victory.
After losing six straight contests, Rider came out strong in the first half against Marist. The Broncs looked threatening, with senior forward Michelle Iacono coming close to putting Rider ahead in the 21st minute, knocking a well-worked shot off the crossbar.
Rider absorbed a lot of pressure in the opening half. It was an impressive showing by freshman goalkeeper Carmen Carbonell, who made six saves in the first half to keep the game level at 0-0. At the end of the first half, Rider had managed seven shots, with Marist peppering the Broncs’ goal with 11 shots.
The second half began the same way, with both teams holding possession and the game going back and forth. The Broncs generated one shot and two corners within 10 minutes of the restart, but no goal. Carbonell managed to make her seventh save of the match later in the second half.
Shortly after that save, in the 73rd minute, the Bronc’s defense collapsed as Marist senior forward Camille Bowen latched onto a pass from senior forward Brianna Robinson and fired a strong shot from 20 yards out. The ball found its way inside the left post to give Marist the 1-0 advantage.
The Red Foxes continued to push forward following its first goal, with Bowen sending another strike in the direction of Carbonell. The freshman keeper got the best of Bowen on this occasion, saving the ball from going in the net.
The Rider attackers sensed the urgency late in the match, making last ditch efforts to pull level with Marist. In the span of two minutes, junior midfielder Kourtney Cunningham had her shot sail high over the goal, and Iacono struck the goal post for the second time of the night, with the tying goal remaining elusive.
The Broncs had one chance left, when in the 90th minute, sophomore midfielder Valeria Pascuet had her shot saved by the opposing keeper. The whistle sounded, and the Broncs dropped their MAAC opener, sending their record to 0-7 for the season.
Iacono, when asked about the mood around the team following seven straight losses, said it is “still positive. We have a strong bond between us that doesn’t make the losing enjoyable, but it makes the will to win and get better that much stronger.” She concluded by saying, “Our record doesn’t alter our belief in each other, or our team.”
Rider continues the action, when they return home on Sept. 20 to face Saint Peter’s at Ben Cohen Field at 7 p.m.