By Carolo Pascale
Rider women’s soccer looked to snap its two-game losing streak against the Fairfield Stags on Sept. 25. Rider was hungry for their first conference win of the season, but it was the Stags that prevailed and stomped out the Broncs in a 3-0 shutout.
The action started early in the game when in the seventh minute, the Broncs were called for a foul in their own box, giving the Stags a prime opportunity to score with a penalty kick. Fairfield capitalized and took an early 1-0 lead.
“We have been unlucky for sure in the first two games,” Head Coach Drayson Hounsome said.
Fairfield stayed on the attack, and only eight minutes later, they got on the board again, making it 2-0 just 15 minutes in.
“The formation we played to start the game compared to theirs and how they played did not suit us as they had extra players in the wide channels that caused us problems,” said Hounsome.
Fairfield took its 2-0 lead into halftime as the Broncs looked to adapt and get back into the game.
“Coach was able to motivate us to want to compete in the second half. He reminded us of our game against Fairfield in the spring when we were able to score four goals in the second half,” said senior midfielder Ailis Martin.
Now trying to mount a comeback, the Broncs aimed to get off to a better start to the second half. That didn’t quite happen as the Stags scored only 11 minutes into the second half, taking a 3-0 lead. This was Fairfield senior defender, and eventual Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week, Lexi Lehan’s second goal of the game, and that score would hold as the Stags shut out the Broncs with a final score of 3-0.
“I think we needed to be better at possessing the ball. There were too many times we lost the ball which made it difficult in transition,” Broncs senior defender Niamh Cashin said.
Rider was only able to get nine shots off on the day, with only three hitting the net. Meanwhile, the Stags had an astounding 29 shots with 10 on target.
“Fairfield had very athletic girls on their backline that made it difficult for our team to get in behind them and create dangerous opportunities,” said Martin.
Leading the Broncs with shots on goal was sophomore midfielder Hannah Freeman with two of the three shots that hit the net for Rider.
The leader in total shots for Rider was Martin, who led the team with three.
“Ailis puts herself in very good positions off the ball. She is strong on the ball which allows her to control it and create chances,” said Freeman.
In goal, Broncs sophomore goalkeeper Ellie Sciancalepore made seven saves in the match.
Rider had four players play all 90 minutes in the match, one of them being Cashin, who has played in every minute of every game this season.
“Niamh is one of the best players that I have ever had the opportunity to play alongside. Myself and everyone on the team have great confidence in her ability as she rarely loses a tackle or arial challenge,” said Freeman on Cashin’s importance to the Broncs.
Rider will try to break its losing streak and get its first conference win of the season against Monmouth University at home on Sept. 29.
“We have to focus on doing the basics well, staying disciplined in our defending and taking our chances when they come,” Cashin said. “We also have the home advantage and so we are going to make it difficult for them to come and play here.”