By Aidan Brager
RIDER men’s soccer picked up two wins on the road against Mount Saint Mary’s on Oct. 25 and Marist on Oct. 28 with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament lurking.
‘I’m beyond thrilled’
On Oct. 25, Rider men’s soccer got its second-straight victory, winning 1-0 against Mount St. Mary’s in a low-scoring, but shot-heavy affair.
The game kicked off with Rider following its usual plan, which consisted of putting early pressure on its opponent’s back line.
After some good play in the midfield, graduate student forward Zaki Alibou crossed the ball into the box and senior forward Babacar Diene connected with it, giving the Broncs a 1-0 lead just three minutes into the game.
Diene’s play has been stellar this season, as he leads the team in goals with six, two more than second place.
The two teams competed evenly throughout the rest of the first half, with both teams taking four more shots on goal, but neither putting one in the back of the net. The Broncs and Mountaineers entered halftime still at 1-0.
In the second half, the hungry Mountaineers picked up the pace and the pressure, attempting many shots on goal. They scored almost double Rider’s shots in the second half and finished with a 9-5 advantage.
The Broncs held on to their 1-0 lead as the final whistle blew, earning their second straight win after an almost month-long skid which featured two draws and two losses.
With the win, the Broncs were able to clinch a spot in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament. Head Coach Chad Duernberger voiced his pleasure after the match to GoBroncs.
“I’m beyond thrilled this group has secured a place in the MAAC Tournament after tonight’s result,” Duernberger said to Rider Athletics.
Broncs down the Foxes
Rider won its third straight game on Oct. 28, beating the Marist Red Foxes away from home with a score of 2-1.
The game featured a bit of a different start than the Broncs are used to, as their early pressure led to a score from Marist rather than Rider.
After a mess in front of the Broncs’ goal following a free kick, Marist knocked the ball into the back of the net, going up 1-0 within the first minutes.
But this was no challenge for the Broncs as they have been overcoming adversity the entire season, and it showed with their almost immediate response to the goal.
Just four minutes later, Diene, the team’s leading goal scorer, went one-on-one with the goalkeeper and knocked in a low shot, tying the game at 1-1 just before the ten-minute mark.
This was Diene’s seventh goal of the season, continuing his phenomenal goal scoring run.
The game continued this way through the rest of the first half, with both teams trading chances on goal. In the 43rd minute, sophomore midfielder Momo Diop landed a stellar 25-yard shot on goal, giving the Broncs a 2-1 lead headed into halftime.
In the second half, Marist played aggressively in an effort to tie the game up with a barrage of corner kicks and shots, but it was to no avail. The second half started and ended with a score of 2-1, becoming the Broncs’ third straight win.
After the match, Duernberger was pleased with his team’s effort both in this match and the whole season.
“This group continues to amaze me. We had a lot of great individual efforts tonight and I’m happy to see this team continue to grow late in the season,” Duernberger said.
Rider will look to continue this form on Nov. 1 as the Broncs take on Saint Peter’s at home at 7 p.m.