By Logan VanDine and Aidan Brager
TO say the conditions at Ben Cohen Field on Sept. 24 weren’t ideal would be an understatement. It was a rainy, cold and windy day for Rider men’s soccer against a formidable opponent in Fairfield. But the Broncs were not deterred by the inclement weather and won their third straight.
From the start of this game, it was definitely going to be a low-scoring affair due to the bad weather and with both of these MAAC squads having great defenses as well.
With just under 12 minutes to go in the first half, it was the Broncs who got the scoring started as graduate student midfielder Ethan Shaw notched his third goal of the season off a header that gave Rider an instant 1-0 lead.
“I knew when I saw it was going right in front of me, I just had to back up and hopefully get a lucky bounce and I did,” Shaw said.
Following the opening goal Rider kept possession of the ball for the majority of the first half.
“It’s extremely hard,” said Shaw when asked about how the rain affects the team’s ability to possess the ball in such unfortunate weather. “You’ve got to be smart every time you’re on the ball.”
The score remained the same through the end of the first half and it was nearly three minutes into the second half that Rider got its second goal of the afternoon thanks to senior forward Babacar Diene’s first score of the season.
Diene’s goal proved to be the difference maker as Rider held on to win 2-0.
“Every game is a little bit different in the challenge. This one had not only a good Fairfield team, but it also had the rain. We knew we were going to have to deal with that. It was going to have to be a little more gritty. It wasn’t going to be us being able to ping it like we liked through the thirds. I thought the guys did well,” said Head Coach Chad Duernberger.
With the win, the Broncs now move to 5-1-2 on the season which exceeds their win total of four from last year.
“We’re definitely starting to figure it out there is a lot of season left, we gotta keep it going, I still don’t believe we are at our full potential yet so we just gotta come out here, train everyday and keep it going,” Shaw said on his team’s recent hot streak.
Duerenberger also gave his thoughts on his team’s recent hot streak and if he thinks his squad is finally getting it together.
“We always want to grow, we always want to keep getting better, watch the video and see where we can improve but yeah our goal is that we are hitting strides towards the end so I hope we still have a lot to go to see how we are developing as a team, I’m really happy of where they’re at right now,” said Duernberger.
Rider will look to make it four straight when they travel to Connecticut to take on Quinnipiac on Sept. 30 at 2 p.m.