Men’s College Soccer
Rider University 1, LIU Brooklyn 0 (2 o.t.)
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ— The blackbird is known for having a rich melodious song, and what is melody but a combination of rhythm and pitch.
The Rider soccer team sang a sweet melody Tuesday afternoon, showing great rhythm on the soccer pitch in a victory over the Blackbirds of LIU Brooklyn.
“Our rhythm is in keeping the ball moving,” said Rider head coach Charlie Inverso. “(senior Eric) Elgin (Mechanicsburg, PA/Cumberland Valley) and (sophomore) Sonimi (Halliday of Sicklerville, NJ/Timber Creek) have gotten so much better in the back and so we can start our attacks out of the back and that helps us develop our rhythm.”
Halliday scored on a header off of a direct kick from freshman Christian Flath (Bargeshagen, Germany) in the 107th minute to give Rider the double overtime victory.
“It shows a lot about the character of this team,” Inverso said. “They like each other, they play hard for each other, and they have a ‘never say die’ attitude. They found a way to win it in the end. It was a long game.”
“The goal was a set piece outside (the box) and we work on them a lot in practice,” said Halliday, who now has two goals this season. “I saw a gap and shot it and luckily I was able to get a piece of the ball.”
Flath took the direct kick from 25 yards out and Halliday rushed the goal, using his head, neck and shoulder to put the ball into the back of the net. “Christian is a great kicker,” Inverso said of his prize freshman who is second in the MAAC in goals (3) and points (9). “He served up a great ball and Sonimi is a great header and a great competitor. It was great to see a great kid like that finish off the goal.”
Rider freshman goalkeeper David Pastuna (Robbinsville, NJ) collected his first collegiate shutout, although he did not have to make any saves. “David, for a young guy, came up big,” Inverso said. “He came off his line well. He wasn’t tested too much but did some nice things. He works hard and is a great person to have on the team.”
“I thought we played really well,” said Pastuna, who improves to 2-0 in the Rider nets. Pastuna has now played 216 minutes and has allowed just two goals. “They didn’t take many shots on us today. This was my first ever shutout where I didn’t have to make a save. It’s nice to have such a great defense in front of me. It is led by our captain, Eric Elgin, who does a great job leading us.”
“Obviously we dominated the game,” Inverso said, after Rider (4-1) out-shot LIU Brooklyn (1-4-1) 20-5, including 3-0 in overtime. Rider had four shots on goal and LIU Brooklyn did not have any. “We really controlled play.”
Rider had seven corner kicks to the Blackbirds’ six.
The Broncs are 4-1 for the first time since 1996 and have already surpassed their win total from last year. “Hopefully we can keep it going,” Halliday said. “We have a great group of young guys with a lot of talent.”
“These guys have a lot of pride and want to be the team that brings the program back to the glory days when Rider won MAAC Championships,” Inverso said.
Rider and LIU are former NEC rivals. Rider holds an 8-4 advantage in the series that began in 1933. LIU won the last three meetings, last season in Brooklyn, 2011 at Rider and in 2002 at Rider, all by the score of 1-0. “LIU is a really good defensive team,” Inverso said. “This is the first time we scored on them since I’ve been here.”
The last time Rider defeated LIU was in 1996 in an NEC game.
Rider travels to St. Bonaventure on Sunday, September 22. “Back on the road this weekend,” Inverso said. “We’ll be ready to go.”
The Broncs sang a sweet melody against the Blackbirds Tuesday, which is better than singing a Song of Sixpence. A 4-1 record is much better than ‘four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.’