Men's College Soccer
Rider University 2, Marist College 0
LAWRENCEVILLE- Friday night the Rider basketball teams enjoyed Midnight MAACness, the celebration of the official start of their practices. It was all over Facebook.
On Sunday, the men's soccer team practiced its own form of MAACness, defeating Marist to begin Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play 2-1-1. It is Rider's best start in the MAAC since 2004 (3-1).
Rider (3-9-1, 2-1-1 MAAC) took a 1-0 lead just 1:52 into the second half on a penalty kick by senior Dan Friga (Clifton, N.J./Passaic County Tech). The goal was Friga's first of the season and the 11th of his career.
The Broncs took a 2-0 lead with 17:38 remaining when a shot by senior Dave Benavidez (Peoria, Ill/Richwoods) was saved but freshman Matti Grahle (Oldenberg, Germany) gathered the rebound and scored his first collegiate goal.
Marist (5-7-1, 1-3 MAAC) out-shot Rider 16-9, including 4-3 in shots on goal.
Rider senior goalkeeper Matt Perrella (North Brunswick, N.J./N. Brunswick) made four saves for the shutout, his second in three games and the seventh of his career. "We came out knowing we needed three points (for a win) today and we got them," Perrella said. "We were playing for Coach. When he got the red card the other night he was sticking up for us, and so today we wanted to get a win for him."
"I never want to be in that seat (in the stands) again for a Rider game," Inverso said. "Travis and Jorge (assistant coach Jorge Roman) did a great job taking over and I'm very proud of those two. And I'm really proud of our guys."
"The chemistry on this team keeps improving every week," said Myernick, now in his second year at Rider, "and it is starting to show in the way that we play."
Last year Rider lost 3-0 to Marist in Poughkeepsie and the Broncs lost 3-1 to Marist the last time the Red Foxes visited Lawrenceville. "That was something we noted in the locker room before the game," Perrella said. "Today we came out and took care of business."
The last time Rider defeated Marist was 2008. "Our guys are believing in themselves," Inverso said. "It is hard to mesh nine seniors with 10 freshmen. It takes a while, but now it has started."
Marist is Rider's oldest conference foe. Rider and Marist are former Northeast Conference rivals and both teams joined the MAAC in 1997.
Rider and Marist have now met 21 times since 1992 with the series now tied at 10-10-1.
The Broncs hope to keep the MAACness going when Rider travels to Fairfield Friday evening. The question is, who will be coaching, 1-0 Coach Myernick or Coach Inverso?
"I think it needs to go back to Coach Inverso," Myernick said. "I think I still have some learning to do."
"Travis comes from great lineage," Inverso said. "His dad (former US National team coach Glenn "Mooch" Myernick) was one of the greatest coaches this country has ever known and Trav is following right in his footsteps. He's a great young coach and did a great job today and we're really lucky to have him."
Rider's best conference start since 2004. How long ago was 2004? Before 2004 there was no Facebook.