Men's College Soccer
Rider University 1, Lafayette College 0 (ot)
LAWRENCEVILLE- His friends call him 'Boots'. They may start calling him 'PK'.
Senior Brandon Sebastian (Monroe Township, N.J./Monroe Twp.) scored on a penalty kick in the 99th minute of play to give Rider a victory over Lafayette Tuesday afternoon. "I love taking PKs," said Sebastain, who now has five career goals, all on penalty kicks. "I've been taking them for years and my coaches have always had confidence in me taking them."
The victory was the first of the season for Rider and the first on Rider's Ben Cohen Field for second-year head coach Charlie Inverso. "It's a good feeling," said Inverso, "to say the least."
Rider senior goalkeeper Jason Giordano (Massapequa Park, N.Y./Massapequa) made six saves, including one on a penalty kick just 2:10 into the game. "Things went great today," said Giordano, who picked up his second career shutout.
Lafayette (4-6-1) out-shot Rider (1-8) 24-8, but just 6-4 in shots on goal.
The Leopards had 11 corner kicks to Rider's six. "I felt Lafayette had the better chances but we fought really hard," Inverso said. "I'm really happy for these guys."
Rider lost 2-1 in overtime at Lafayette last year. In that game, the host Leopards tied the scored on a PK and won in the 105th minute of play on a header off of a corner kick. Rider had taken a 1-0 lead last year on a PK.
"It's a physical game," Inverso said about all of the penalty kicks between Rider and Lafayette. "They are a hard team to play against. They are big, strong and fast."
The last time Rider defeated Lafayette was 1988. "This is pretty big deal beating Lafayette," Giordano said.
Rider and Lafayette were East Coast Conference rivals from 1974-1989.
Rider and Lafayette have now met 45 times since the series began in 1948 with the Leopards holding a 25-18-2 advantage in the all-time series.
Last year was the fourth straight year that Lafayette was one goal better than the Broncs. Over the last four seasons Lafayette has defeated Rider 1-0, 1-0 and 2-1 and again 2-1 in double overtime last year.
The Broncs now head to Western New York to begin Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play. Rider takes on Canisius Friday night and Niagara Sunday afternoon. "Both of those teams are playing fairly well," Inverso said.
"Going into conference play with a victory is huge," Giordano said. "Hopefully we can steal a win or two this weekend as well."
"We really needed this win," Sebastian said. "We've been working our butts off in practice and it finally paid off."
Rider beings MAAC play in Western New York this year. Two years ago when Rider made this trip it was at the end of the season. "It was freezing," Giordano remembers about the last Western New York trip. "It's a long trip but we're looking forward to it."