By Brandon Scalea
The women’s soccer team was dealt its first MAAC loss of the season on Sept. 26 by its oldest conference rival, and a team that always gives the Broncs trouble.
Marist (2-6-1, 1-1 MAAC) only needed one goal to hold off the defending conference champions at their home field in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Head Coach Drayson Hounsome made no excuses following the disappointing loss, and was particulary impressed with the defensive play of the Red Foxes.
“It was a close game and Marist was able to score on their best chance.” Hounsome said. “We had several good chances but their keeper performed to a higher level. So it’s a disappointment to not take the three points because we were close to doing so.”
Rider has been the team to beat this season, leading to some really tough battles on the turf.
“We obviously have a huge target on our back since we’re trying to repeat as champions,” sophomore forward Carissa Sanchez said. “We just need to come out a little bit stronger and be prepared for the fight.”
That goal came only five minutes into the game off a quick shot by Marist’s freshman forward Kristen Reilly that beat two-time MAAC Defensive Player of the Week Bethany-May Howard.
With seemingly the entire game left to knot things back up, the Broncs (4-4, 1-1 MAAC) looked to take advantage of the young Red Fox team. Marist, however, would continue to hold the advantage in shot total, 13-10, and shots on goal, 7-5.
Sanchez believed the opportunities were there for the Broncs.
“Offensively we had our chances, but we just couldn’t finish,” Sanchez said. “We’ve been so great this season taking advantage and connecting on our opportunities but we just couldn’t do it against Marist.”
Marist’s win on Saturday was its first of the season since late August, but its fourth straight against Rider dating back to 2012.
Hounsome believes it is critical to take advantage of games like this by building off the mistakes.
“Errors are a necessity to improve and get better for when the games become more important,” he said. “We are continuing to work players back into the lineup who haven’t kicked a ball for a month to six months because of injury.”
The Broncs will look to regroup on Sept. 30 when they play host to in-state MAAC rival St. Peter’s.