By Shanna O’Mara
As they move closer to the playoffs, the women’s soccer team added another win to its record, shutting out Siena 2-0 on Oct. 10.
After losing to Monmouth, the Broncs realized they needed another win to increase their chance of making it to the playoffs. Siena was this chance.
“We needed this win to get us back, in terms of points, to get in the playoffs,” Head Coach Drayson Hounsome said. “We got in with 17 points last year, so now we have 12 points with four games left to play. Hopefully in these next few games, we can get enough points to solidify for ourselves a playoff position.”
The Broncs (7-5, 4-2 MAAC) and the Saints (6-6-2, 2-4 MAAC) both played aggressively, holding the score at zero for the first 40 minutes of the game. However, freshman defender Meghan McCabe was able to head one in off a corner kick from junior forward Hollie Kelsh to break the scoreless tie.
“Hollie crossed it into us on a corner kick,” McCabe said. “And I saw the ball coming so I ran up and headed it in. It was just a great feeling to score a goal for my team.”
The youngest player on the team, McCabe has already scored three goals this season. Kelsh now leads the MAAC with seven assists, also tying for 20th place nationally.
The second goal of the game came from sophomore midfielder Shannon Kelly with an assist from freshman forward Kourtney Cunningham. With 13 minutes left in the game, Kelly scored on Siena after the ball bounced off of one of the Saints’ defenders.
“Shannon had a great shot,” McCabe said. “But it deflected off a girl [from Siena], and it went in. We all played great as individuals, but it was a whole-team effort. I think we just played well together. The intensity was high today.”
Junior goalkeeper Bethany-May Howard made two saves throughout the game, making this her sixth shutout of the season.
“If we want to be in the top four, this is a game we really had to win,” Howard said. “The plan was play hard and win.”
Staying true to this plan, Rider held a 9-6 edge in shots over Siena.
“The defense was great,” Hounsome said. “It was a very tough night for them against Monmouth on Wednesday, but they bounced back today and played really strong.”
On Oct. 7, the team battled against Monmouth (9-2-2, 5-1 MAAC), ultimately losing 2-1.
Monmouth took the lead just 11 minutes into the game and scored again nearly an hour in. Within four minutes, Rider cut the lead. Kelsh took a pass from sophomore forward Ellie Smith and scored her first goal of the season.
The Broncs will take on Niagara at home on Oct. 14.
“Niagara is going to be a team that’s in the playoffs,” Hounsome said. “So if you get a result against Niagara, it’s a bonus and you’re really in a strong position for the playoffs.”
Undefeated at home, the Broncs look to protect this untarnished record.