By Shaun Chornobroff
Niagara’s attack was nonexistant in its 5-0 loss to Rider earlier in the season.
On Nov. 3, Niagara’s forwards caused problems for the Broncs as Niagara redshirt junior forward Kelsey Araujo had two goals on the night and sophomore forward Annie Ibey added an assist as Niagara eliminated Rider 2-1 in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) championship tournament for the second-straight season.
The game was hard fought and competitive until the final whistle. Hounsome praised his players effort in the loss.
“I thought we gave it a good effort. On another night, we could win that game, like when we played them previously, we won 5-0. We lost 2-1 tonight,” Hounsome said of the loss. “Sometimes that’s just the nature of the game.”
The game appeared to open up in the 16th minute when Niagara senior forward Emma Lindke ripped a shot that seemed destined to beat junior goalkeeper Carmen Carbonell, but ricocheted of the cross bar.
After a few more missed shots Niagara finally broke through the Broncs back line when Araujo tapped home an Ibey cross to push Niagara ahead, which was the first of two goals on the night for the redshirt junior.
Rider responded well and almost leveled the score before the half, but sophomore forward Nikki Arrington pushed a shot just over the bar.
Rider entered the second half with new life.
Within the first minute of the second half Rider tied the game; Lindsey Maslow, a freshman defender, beat multiple opponents down the left sideline, before crossing the ball back towards the center, where sophomore midfielder Ailis Martin slotted it into the bottom corner to tie the score.
“I felt great scoring the goal, I thought we worked really well in the first half and going into halftime we talked about going out playing the same way, and it paid off,” Martin said of her goal.
Maslow also spoke on the goal, which happened to be her first collegiate assist.
“It felt good getting the team back in it because we really needed a goal back, it’s just unfortunate we couldn’t get another one after,” said Maslow.
With the goal momentum turned and opportunities started coming for Rider which seemed destined to put a second goal in the back of the net.
Within five minutes senior midfielder Sofia Soares and graduate student forward Emily Curteis came within inches of putting the Broncs ahead.
After barely being able to muster offense in the first half, Rider had the Niagara back line in fear.
Niagara started to counter and in the 68th minute Rider was caught out on a throw in, which led to Niagara freshman forward Djeynaba Thiam poking the ball across the box where Araujo put the Purple Eagles ahead for the second time that night.
It was Araujo’s first multigoal game of the season.
The Broncs continued pressing Niagara after the goal. Later in the game Hounsome even moved Maslow a defender up to the midfield in hopes of getting a second goal, but to no avail.
Maslow elaborated on her increased responsibility.
“You rely on your teammates a lot, if you can’t get back or you can’t get forward, you just rely on everyone around you, because everyone you trust will work for you.”
Despite outshooting Niagara, Rider had problems finishing as it only put three shots on goal.
On Nov. 4 the conference announced the All-MAAC Postseason Teams.
Senior midfielder Valeria Pascuet and sophomore back Niamh Cashin were both named to the All-MAAC First Team. This was the second career First Team selection for Pascuet and first for Cashin.
Junior goalkeeper Carmon Carbonell was named to the All-MAAC Second Team. She finished the season with 95 saves and posted an .802 save percentage.
Lastly, freshman forward Makenzie Rodrigues along with freshman forward Camryn Dees were named to the All-MAAC Rookie Team. Dees started each of the 16 games she played in and Rodrigues contributed four goals.
Rider concluded the season with an 8-6-4 record and was 5-3-2 in MAAC play.