Women clinch MAAC playoff spot

By Carlos Toro

When Senior Day comes, it is always an emotion-filled day intended to express appreciation for the hard work and effort of the senior class.

On Oct. 26, Senior Day came with a little drama.

For the second time in as many games, Rider (8-7-1, 5-4-1 MAAC) had to go to overtime to decide a winner, but unlike the Oct. 23 double overtime tie against Niagara, this game had a victor.

Before the game started, the seniors were honored in their last home game at Rider. The senior class of 2013-14 included forward Bridgette Bartkowski, midfielder Sarah Cirigliano, back Becca Kape, forward Jennifer Meier, forward Jody Sokol, and back Carolyn Wiley.

Despite being outshot 23-9 by Fairfield (11-6-1, 7-2-1 MAAC), the Broncs squeezed out a 1-0 victory in overtime to finish the season with a winning record. Freshman midfielder Priscilla Santos scored a goal off a corner kick to get the win.

“I just saw the ball inside the box and I knew somebody had to put it away,” Santos said about the goal.

Fairfield dominated offensively from the start of the match, and had several chances to put the game away but could not capitalize thanks to performances from Rider’s two freshmen goalkeepers, Bethany-May Howard and Vanessa Perdomo. Howard recorded six saves in the first half, while Perdomo played the remaining 53 minutes, also making six saves.

This latest result comes three days after the Broncs could not produce a win against Niagara and finished with a tie after playing 110 minutes of soccer. Like Fairfield on Oct. 26, Rider could not generate enough goals, despite having more than 20 total shots.

The win guarantees Rider the fifth seed in this week’s MAAC championship at ESPN Wide World of Sports and a first-round bye. Head Coach Drayson Hounsome is relieved to give his team a rest after playing three straight overtime games.

“Our goal initially was to get top five in the MAAC so we could secure a first-round bye,” Hounsome said. “We knew we had to go and push for the win.”

Meier was thankful for the bye because it gives the team extra time to re-energize before the biggest games of the year.

“It’s great to have the bye because you definitely get some rest and you’re ready for the quarterfinal game, but it’s exciting to have that feeling going out there and getting the win,” Meier said.

Rider will play fourth seeded Marist (8-9-2, 4-1 MAAC) on Nov. 1 in the quarterfinals. Earlier this season, the Broncs fell to Marist on the road, 5-0.

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