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MAAC Play Begins Tonight
Broncs Host Fairfield on Code Cranberry
With just one loss in its first eight games, the Rider women's soccer team takes its best start ever into conference play, hosting Fairfield University in a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game Friday night on Code Cranberry.
"It's the business end of the season now so we want to get off to a good start," said Rider head coach Drayson Hounsome.
Rider (5-1-2) returns to the Ben Cohen Field for the first time in almost four weeks, playing its last four games on the road.
"We haven't played at home since September 2nd so after four games on the road it will be great to be back on our home field," Hounsome said.
Fairfield (3-3-2) has made the MAAC playoffs five times in the last seven years since winning the conference championship in 2005, and also won the MAAC Title in 2008.
The Stags have seven MAAC Titles, second only to Loyola's nine.
The Broncs have not defeated Fairfield since 2004 and have beaten the Stags just three times in 17 meetings. Fairfield defeated Rider 4-0 in Connecticut last year.
"Fairfield is a strong program and gave us a shellacking last year so it will be a good measure for where we are this season," Hounsome said
Rider has allowed the least amount of goals in the MAAC so far this season (seven), with senior Jenn Nichols (Stratham, N.H./Exeter) leading the MAAC with four shutouts. Nichols is third in the conference in both save percentage and goals against average.
Rider senior Claire Thompson (East Greenwich, R.I./E. Greenwich) leads the conference with two game-winning goals and senior Abi Cottam (Leominster, England/Ludlow) is second in the MAAC in assists with three. A Preseason First Team All-MAAC selection, Cottam is Rider's career assist leader.
Fairfield has the least amount of goals scored so far in the MAAC with just five on the season, and is second behind Rider with allowing just eight. Along with Rider Fairfield also has four shutouts this year.
Friday is also Code Cranberry, when all of the Rider varsity athletes come out and show their support of their fellow student-athletes. "The players draw energy from the crowd so with the new '206 Ultras' on campus (Rider Soccer's Supporters Club) and all of Rider's athletes it will be a great atmosphere," Hounsome said.