Rider beats No. 25 American in historic 1-1 weekend

By Logan VanDine

It was not going to be an easy weekend for the Broncs as they continued their roadtrip facing off against Saint Francis and No. 25 American. The Broncs were able to get back to the .500 mark by splitting both matches, on top of making program history by defeating a ranked team for the first time.

“It’s frustrating to watch”

The Broncs have a trend of playing in close games this season and always seem to fall on the losing side. That tendency continued as they fell to the Saint Francis Red Flash 3-2 on Sept. 30 in the first of two weekend games.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Red Flash struck first by converting on a corner attempt with a backhand shot, putting them up 1-0 in the second.

The Broncs fired back right away with a corner attempt shot of their own with senior midfielder Sierra Giuliano tying up the game at 1-1 as the game went into halftime.

After an exchange of goals made the game tied at 2-2 in the third quarter, the Red Flash put the game away for good in the fourth quarter thanks to a shot that got deflected and went over the top of the Broncs defense which gave Saint Francis a 3-2 lead and subsequent win, to drop the Broncs to 4-5 this season.

Head Coach Lori Hussong wasn’t shy to vent her frustrations on yet another one goal loss for the Broncs.

“Once again, we were not ready to compete and got out-hustled and out-played all over the field. We need to improve and play with energy and confidence every time we step on the field. It’s frustrating to watch, knowing that we did not play to our potential and let a tougher and hungrier Saint Francis team take advantage of our mistakes,” Hussong said.

A historic win:

It was not going to get any easier for the Broncs. After a disappointing loss to Saint Francis, they had to turn it around quickly and play the No. 25 American Eagles.

They used that underdog mentality and took down the Eagles on the road 3-1, defeating a ranked opponent for the first time in program history.

The Broncs started the scoring in the first quarter via a backhand shot by freshman forward Valeria Perales to give the Broncs an early lead.

The Broncs scored another goal in the second and after the Eagles cut the lead to 2-1, the Broncs put the game away for good in the fourth quarter thanks to freshman forward Semra Said blasting a shot in the final minutes, giving the Broncs a two-score lead.

“After a disappointing loss on Friday, our team bounced back and played tough today. Everyone came with energy and persistent effort,” Hussong said. “Our defense stayed poised under pressure and our midfield did a tremendous job on controlling the middle of the field. Sierra [Giuliano], Kiki [Van Ommeren], Lyric [Scott] and Abby [Hartwell] were tough as nails and fed our forwards beautiful passes to set up our offensive chances. Valeria [Perales], Indy [Zoontjen] and Semra [Said] capitalized on our opportunities and scored some beautiful goals. We are very proud of our effort today.”

Perales, who was responsible for one of the Broncs three goals, gave her thoughts on her team’s mindset playing a tough team like the Eagles and how she thinks she performed.

“I didn’t expect an impressive victory. We just got there with the idea of giving all our effort and making an equal game. We knew that they were going to be really good but that didn’t mean that we would give them that easy victory,” Perales said. “I think my game improved over Friday’s game. Even though it was a more difficult game I felt more confident and relaxed thanks to my teammates. Also, I went more aggressive both in defense and offense and made my game better. But although those improvements I have seen I still have a lot of things to learn that I would like to introduce in my game.”

Freshman forward Said, who also contributed to the Broncs win on offense, expressed how proud she was of her team’s remarkable victory.

“I am extremely proud of the girls because we delivered an amazing game against a nationally ranked team. It started with the defense, we played really calm which made us win the ball without getting any fouls. Of course we made mistakes because that is normal in a sport, but what is important is to make up for them and we did, we made up for each other,” Said said.

“We practiced really hard to use the midfield and use them for our advantage. We integrated the middle which made us successful. The forward made a great job with bringing the ball to the goal or get a corner, which we could execute really good,” said Said.

“Overall we played as a team and stayed calm after they scored which made us play our game and not get stressed and therefore we could score again. We came back from Friday‘s tough loss but we came back even stronger and we definitely dominated the game and we deserved that great win.”

The Broncs now sit at 5-5 this season and Hussong is confident in her team’s ability.

“If we can consistently give this type of effort moving forward we will continue to give ourselves a shot at the playoffs,” said Hussong.

The Broncs will finally return home to resume conference play as they will play Fairfield on Oct. 7 and then travel to Connecticut to play Sacred Heart on Oct. 9.

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