Men’s College Soccer
Rider University 3, Saint Joseph’s University 1
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ—Saint Joseph’s returned 10 starters from the 2012 team that beat Rider 3-0 last year and was coming off a tie with perennial MAAC powerhouse Loyola.
Rider returned two starters and had six freshmen in the starting line-up, with 10 newcomers playing in the contest.
“I don’t know if I would have predicted this final score,” said Rider head coach Charlie Inverso, after his young Broncs upset the Hawks in front of over 500 fans at the Ben Cohen Field Tuesday evening. “You have to give so much credit to our guys for coming out and trying to do things the right way.”
Rider freshman Christian Flath (Bargeshagen, Germany) scored a goal and added two assists to lead Rider to victory. “Christian is not fancy and sometimes goes unnoticed but he holds down everything in the midfield,” Inverso said.
“It was a very hard match,” Flath said in his broken English. “It was very physical. I prefer more of a technical style, but we did what we had to do. I feel the better team won tonight.”
With the win, Rider begins the season 2-0 for the first time since 1975. “That was the year I graduated high school,” Inverso said. “It’s a tribute to these players. It’s a young group, with seven newcomers, six freshmen, on the field at a time.”
“We are a young team but we are not bad,” Flath said. “We had a good preseason and now we are on our way of becoming a good team.”
Saint Joseph’s (0-1-1) took a 1-0 lead 12:47 into the game on a corner kick.
Rider (2-0) came right back and tied the score less than a minute later when Flath took a corner kick that was received by freshman Rob Nardiello (Torquay, England), who passed the ball to freshman Warren Holmes (Stoke on Trent, England), who scored his first collegiate goal.
Flath sent a ball to sophomore Sonimi Halliday (Sicklerville, NJ/Timber Creek), who scored the game winner in the 28th minute of play.
“I have to tip my cap to assistant coach Larry Povia,” Inverso said. “Those first two goals were off of re-starts and that’s Larry’s area. We executed them really well.”
With 15 minutes remaining in the game, a St. Joe foul in the box awarded Rider a penalty kick, and Flath put it in the back of the net for his second PK of the season. “That was a crucial PK and he stepped up,” Inverso said.
“I took my team’s penalty kicks in Germany and I always take them the same way,” Flath said. “I don’t think about the goalkeeper, I just focus on the ball and where I am going to kick it. I just try to hit the ball hard.”
St. Joe out-shot Rider 15-12, including 9-3 in the second half when the Hawks were trying to tie the game. “We did what we had to do tonight,” Inverso said, “and I was proud of our effort.”
Rider freshman goalkeeper Jimmy Quilter (South Brunswick, NJ) made six saves.
Rider and St. Joe's were East Coast Conference rivals 1974-1982. St. Joe's holds a 21-12-5 advantage in the series that began in 1963.
Rider is off until September 11 when the Broncs travel to Temple for a 3pm game. “We just have to keep it going and get ourselves ready for Temple,” Inverso said. “Now we’ll get our taste on what it is like on the road.”