By Benjamin Shinault
WITH gray clouds hovering over Ben Cohen Field on Sept. 9, Rider women’s soccer was shutout 1-0 by Marist to kick off Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
From the start, the fans in attendance got a preview of what the game would ultimately unfold to be: a defensive slugfest.
For a bulk of the first half, the ball was mostly in possession of the Red Foxes, but the defense of the Broncs held strong with Marist only getting nine shots off on the Broncs.
Head Coach Drayson Hounsome broke down what he saw from his defense following the first half.
“I don’t think there was much defense to do, shots were coming in from distance … it’s more a case of us turning the possession over so then they are on our side of the field,” said Hounsome.
The Broncs had few opportunities in the first half to get a shot on goal with only two, but they did almost capitalize on a kick off the foot of Hannah Freeman, who had plenty of momentum after a two-goal performance against Delaware State. However, it sailed into the waiting hands of the Marist goalie.
Heading into half with the match knotted up at 0-0, Hounsome recapped what he told the team in the locker room: “Just try to be quicker. We knew they weren’t going to high-press and we saw them sit off, but our build up play was too slow and when we got into the attacking third, our attacking was too slow.”
Out of the locker room and heading back onto the wet turf, the Broncs continued to struggle to keep their half of the field untouched by the Red Foxes. With Marist fast approaching the 18-yard box, Broncs senior goaltender Ellie Sciancalepore left her position and the Red Foxes ended up taking advantage of the blunder to make the score 1-0.
The Broncs second half attack was more prominent but Rider just couldn’t quite set up anything offensively, leading to the team being shutout in the opener of MAAC play.
The closest the Broncs got to putting one in the back of the net came within the 88th minute when freshman midfielder Ava Ferrie blasted one that rolled past the right side of the net. The sound of groans echoed throughout Ben Cohen Field.
Hounsome repeated after the game what he wants to see out of the girls moving into the thick of the season. “It’s only about getting enough points to get in … it’s not about getting too down about the defeat, it’s about figuring out how to be better,” said Hounsome.