By Carlos Toro
- Volleyball’s impressive season
The volleyball program has seen vast improvement since Head Coach Christopher Feliciano arrived. The Broncs won 17 games last year, marking the first time the team won at least 16 games in three straight seasons in program history.
The important note from this year’s squad was that it qualified for the MAAC Tournament in consecutive years, a feat never achieved in program history. The team no longer struggles to find its way in the conference, but now is a team inching closer and closer to a title.
- Wrestling ends the season with two All-Americans
Rider’s long-standing history with wrestlers earning All-America status kept going with senior Ryan Wolfe and junior Chad Walsh getting the honor this year at the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
For Wolfe, it was his first-ever All-America selection, making him Rider’s 16th All-American, and Walsh received his second selection. It was only the second time the wrestling team has had at least one All-America selection for three straight years, and Walsh became Rider’s second wrestler to win multiple All-America honors.
It may not be the national title the team wanted to give Head Coach Gary Taylor in his final season, but two wrestlers placing in the top eight at the NCAA Championships is an achievement to be proud of.
- Women’s basketball advances to the MAAC final
Expectations for this year’s women’s basketball team weren’t high — they were picked to finish 10th in the MAAC Preseason standings — but this team vastly outperformed, starting with a season-opening road win against Princeton.
What followed was a team breaking records for most conference wins in a season, best start to a season in more than 30 years and its highest finish in the MAAC. This year’s team was led by veterans such as junior guard Kamila Hoskova, senior forwards Robin Perkins and Julia Duggan, and got a lot of help from star freshman guard Stella Johnson.
This year’s team played in its first-ever conference title game and first-ever postseason tournament game, largely erasing past years of muddling through the MAAC and establishing the Broncs as a contender for the MAAC title for the foreseeable future.
- Men’s track wins MAAC Indoor Championship
The track and field program had been very close to breaking through and winning a conference title for the past few years. The men’s team finally won its first Indoor MAAC Championship on Feb. 19 during the final event, overtaking Monmouth, who had been in good position to become champions after the first day of competition.
While the women placed second in the meet, the program set itself up for success for the outdoor portion of the season. The men were picked to win the Outdoor MAAC Championships this season, and both teams had already performed well in the outdoor season, winning the Rider Invite earlier in the outdoor season.
- Men’s soccer wins back-to-back conference titles
The general consensus in sports is that it is often tougher to win a second-straight title than to win the first one. After the Broncs won their first conference title since 1998, they had to play with a target on their back as the champions and were generally unfazed at the start of the season. The team was nationally ranked after just a few games and finished near the top of the MAAC standings in the regular season.
After narrowly winning a penalty shootout against Siena in the MAAC semifinals, the Broncs defeated Quinnipiac on the Bobcats’ own field to clinch their second straight title. The win not only confirms that last year’s title win was not a fluke, but cemented Rider as the top men’s soccer team in the conference.