By Victoria Lyons
The women’s soccer team was successful on the road last Friday, earning a narrow victory against Wagner with a score of 1-0 and then following it up with a 5-2 victory over NJIT.
The Broncs (4-2-2) showed the Seahawks their offensive ability early, scoring in the 12th minute of the game. Head coach Drayson Hounsome was extremely pleased by his team’s performance.
“The team did well against Wagner, adjusting to their style of play and winning the majority of 50/50 balls,” he said. “We were able to absorb their pressure when necessary and control the tempo of the game possession-wise also.”
Freshman Jody Sokol proved once again that she is an asset to the team, giving Rider the only goal of the game, her third of the season.
“It felt great to have the only goal of the game,” Sokol said. “I know the team worked extremely hard in order to maintain that one-goal lead and not give up the game.”
Sophomore Abi Cottam earned the assist, sending a crossing pass to Sokol who made a left-footed shot to the upper left-hand corner.
Senior goalkeeper Alex Post also had a performance that led to the Broncs’ win, saving five shots. This game was her third shutout of the season and the ninth of her career.
At the close of the game Rider had outshot Wagner 15-12 with nine of the Broncs’ shots on goal compared to the Seahawks’ five.
“I just think that we can dominate any team because we are extremely talented and know how to beat teams,” Sokol said.
Wagner (4-4-0) was undefeated at home this year until Rider showed what they could accomplish.
On Tuesday, the Broncs welcomed NJIT to Rider by displaying an offensive clinic and defeating the Highlanders handily. Rider was exceptionally dominant in the game, earning its second straight victory. According to Hounsome, the team has come a long way and should be pleased with the progress.
“Scoring goals is the most difficult thing in soccer, so scoring five today is very pleasing,” he said. “They beat us last year so turning around 12 months later and performing the way we did is a mark of where the program is and how talented the players are.”
Freshman Jennifer Meier got things started for the Broncs, scoring 12 minutes into the game with sophomore Claire Thompson earning the assist. The Broncs entered the second half with the score 1-0 when, 20 minutes into the half, freshman Bridgette Bartkowski sent a ball through to Meier, who scored from 16 yards away.
The Highlanders did not give up that easily, managing to score in the 58th minute of the game. Nevertheless, Rider battled right back with Thompson earning a goal 32 seconds later off a pass from Meier. At that point, with the Broncs leading 3-1, senior Kimberly Reichel sent sophomore Alexis Coughlin on a breakaway, leading to her first goal of the season.
NJIT (1-6-1) put up a fight, getting a goal in the 86th minute, but it was not enough to overcome Rider. Sophomore Angela Lozupone shot in a loose ball with 63 seconds left in the game, completing the final score.
As for the goalies, Post played 70 minutes, making one save and allowing one goal. Sophomore Jenn Nichols did the same, playing the remaining 20 minutes, closing out the win.
Rider has excelled in most of the statistical categories so far this season in the MAAC.
The Broncs are number one in four offensive categories and second in two other categories. Rider is tops in shots (16), points (5.75 per game), assists (16) and assists per game (2).
Rider is also in the top three in goals, goals per game and shutouts. The Broncs have outscored their opponents 15-9 so far this season.
Next for women’s soccer is an away game against Holy Cross (2-3-1) on Sunday.
“We are playing well and have good players,” Hounsome said. “If we prepare right for the match there is a good chance we can be successful on Sunday.”
When Rider comes home after Holy Cross it will prepare for the crucial part of the schedule, conference play.
The Broncs begin play in the MAAC with home games against Niagara and Canisius on Oct. 1 and Oct. 3, respectively.