Rider 3, Niagara 2
Women's College Soccer
Rider University 3, Niagara University 2
LAWRENCEVILLE-On Senior Day, a junior saved the day.
Junior Jennifer Meier (Sayville, NY/St. Anthony's) had an assist on the first goal and scored the game-winner with 5:04 left in the second half, to lead Rider to a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference win over Niagara Saturday.
"We tried to win it for the seniors and we did," Meier said.
"A little bit too much tension for me to enjoy Senior Day," said Rider head coach Drayson Hounsome. "They say good teams find a way to win and we did that today. Jen scored a quality goal. We've seen her do that a lot."
"Meg (senior Meghan Mohr of Holtsville, N.Y./Sachem) did a great job of winning the ball back for us and she played a great through ball to me down the line," Meier said. "I saw the defender taking away the outside so I cut back in took the left-foot shot upper 90."
"We moved Jen into the midfield this year and she's more dynamic for us there this year," Hounsome said. "That is what we need."
"It has been an adjustment, since I'm not used to playing the defensive part of the game," Meier said of her new position this year, "but I think the change has helped us win more balls and keep possession."
Rider (9-3-3, 4-2-1 MAAC) took a 1-0 lead just 41 seconds into the game on a goal by junior Jody Sokol (Bensalem, PA/Bensalem), assisted by Meier. "We got off to a great start," Hounsome said.
Rider senior Abi Cottam (Leominster, England/Ludlow) scored to give Rider a 2-1 lead with 15 minutes left in the first half. "Last year when we played at Niagara Abi had more shots than their entire team and we ended up losing," Hounsome said.
"I was running toward the goalkeeper and the ball came off of her," Cottam said. "I had my back to the goal so I tried to find the goal with my left foot and I did."
Rider's all-time assist leader with 24, the goal was the 25th of her career, third most ever at Rider, and her last goal on Rider's Ben Cohen Field.
"It's very sad," Cottam said of Senior Day. "I mean it is nice that we won and it was a lovely day, but it is sad."
The Broncs lost 2-0 at Niagara last year despite out-shooting the Purple Eagles 21-9.
Niagara (8-9, 3-5 MAAC) tied the score at 2-2 just 15 seconds into the second half. "We had some mental lapses that gave them two goals," Hounsome said.
Rider out-shot Niagara 19-3, including 11-3 in shots on goal.
Rider senior goalkeeper Jenn Nichols (Stratham, N.H./Exeter) made one save.
With the victory the Broncs head into the final weekend of the season in fourth place. The four-team MAAC Championship is November 2-4 in Poughkeepsie, NY.
The Purple Eagles were MAAC runner-up in 2009 and won the MAAC in 2006.
The last time Niagara visited Rider the Broncs won 2-1 in 2010.
Rider and Niagara have now met 16 times since the series began in 1997 with Rider winning six.
"We're confident," Hounsome said. "We didn't play our best today but we're playing good soccer right now."
Rider is 4-0-1 in its last five games. "We have to play next weekend the way we played the last two weekends," Meier said.
"We're very proud of what we've done," Cottam said. 'We expected to be in this position and we are."
Rider travels to Siena Friday and Marist Sunday for the final games of the regular season. "We have to go on the road and win," Hounsome said. 'That's what we're focused on."