Men's College Soccer
Iona College 6, Rider University 5
NEW ROCHELLE, NY-In a wild one the Broncs lost a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference game at Iona Sunday afternoon. "It was a wild game, to say the least," said Rider head coach Charlie Inverso. "We were down three goals twice and showed some mental toughness to come back the way we did."
For Rider (3-11-1, 2-3-1 MAAC) sophomore back Jens Warncke (Lohne, Germany) scored twice, his first two collegiate goals, cutting the Gael lead to 5-4 with 11 minutes left. "Many of our goals today came off of set plays, on free kicks and corners," Inverso said. "Jens was pushed forward on those occasions and came through for us."
Freshman Matti Grahle (Oldenberg, Germany) scored with 8:15 remaining for the final score. "We kept battling and in the last minute we were in their end and had one or two real good chances," Inverso said.
Rider senior Dave Benavidez (Peoria, Ill/Richwoods) scored with six minutes left in the first half to cut the lead to 2-1.
Iona scored in the sixth minute of play on a 15-yard blast from the left side and went up 2-0 in the 26th minute of play.
"We knew Iona was a very skillful team and we came out trying to play against their strengths, and we found out we couldn't," Inverso said.
Rider senior Dan Friga (Clifton, N.J./Passaic County Tech) scored 13 minutes into the second half to cut the lead to 4-2 and assisted on the final goal. "We came out with a different strategy in the second half and it almost worked," Inverso said. 'We almost pulled it out."
Iona (6-9, 4-1 MAAC) out-shot Rider 14-12, including 11-7 in shots on goal. "It was clear today that Iona was just a more skillful team than us," Inverso said.
Rider senior goalkeeper Matt Perrella (North Brunswick, N.J./N. Brunswick) made five saves.
Rider senior Brenden Noesges (Freehold, N.J./Freehold Township) had two assists.
The loss was the second in a row for the Broncs.
Iona was ranked 25th in the nation last October before they scored in the final minute of play to defeat Rider 2-1 in Lawrenceville.
Rider and Iona have now met 16 times since the series began in 1997 with Rider winning six (one tie), the last Bronc victory coming in 2005.
Rider hosts Manhattan Friday afternoon at 4pm. "We're looking forward to next weekend," Inverso said. "We're still in the hunt for a playoff spot and that's exciting."