Women’s College Soccer
Rider University 3, Iona College 0
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ—‘Hat Trick’. Although most associate the feat with hockey, the term was first used in 1858 in cricket to describe a player taking three wickets with three consecutive deliveries. A collection was held for him to celebrate his accomplishment, and he was presented with a hat bought with the proceeds.
No such collection was taken for Rider senior Jennifer Meier (Sayville, NY/St. Anthony’s) Saturday afternoon, after she scored three goals to lead Rider to a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory over Iona.
“Jenn Meier was brilliant,” said Rider head coach Drayson Hounsome. “I would like to give her a game ball but we don’t have that many. I believe that was her second ‘hat trick’ and her first conference ‘hat trick’. Obviously conference ‘hat tricks’ mean a lot more.”
It was the second career ‘hat trick’ for Meier, who enjoyed a three-goal game as a sophomore in a 3-0 victory at Bryant. “I don’t remember the first one, to be honest with you,” said Meier, who now has a career-best nine goals on the season. “It is a thrill, but I’m just happy to get the win.”
“More than the score itself, I think the nature in how we played is very important,” Hounsome said. “We dominated play and controlled the tempo. We didn’t give a good team a sniff at a goal. That’s really pleasing.”
Meier took a pass from freshman Michelle Iacono (Merrick, N.Y./Calhoun) and scored from 18 yards out for a 1-0 lead just 2:36 into the game.
Meier scored an unassisted goal in the 29th minute of play for a 2-0 Rider lead, and took a pass from freshman Hollie Kelsh (Lancashire, England/Sandbach) and scored with 37 minutes left for the final score.
Meier now has 27 career goals, moving up to third most ever at Rider. Her 66 career points are now fourth most ever at Rider. “She will go down as one of the best players in Rider soccer history,” Hounsome said.
It was the third shutout of the season for the Broncs. As always, Rider used two goalkeepers. Freshman Bethany-May Howard (Glastonbury, England/Bridgwater College) played the first half and made one save, and freshman Vanessa Perdomo (Hillsborough, NJ/South Brunswick) played the second half, also making one save.
“Defensively we got the clean sheet,” Hounsome said of the shutout. “I am very proud of how the defensive unit played.”
Rider (6-6, 3-3 MAAC) out-shot Iona (4-6-4, 3-1-2 MAAC) 12-6, including 4-2 in shots on goal. “I thought it was going to be a more physical game,” Meier said.
Iona defeated Rider 1-0 last year in Lawrenceville. The two teams have now met 17 times, with Rider holding a 9-6-2 advantage in the series that began in 1997.
With the win the Broncs are now 5-0 at home. “We won again at home, which is very important,” Hounsome said. “There are comforts of playing at home.”
There are many causes to home field advantage ranging from crowd involvement to travel considerations to environmental factors. The most-commonly cited factors of home field advantage are usually ones whose advantageous effects are difficult to measure. Most of these are psychological in nature, such as familiarity with the playing grounds, the ability for participants to sleep in their own beds rather than in a hotel, travel immediately prior to the game, and the psychological support of the fans in attendance.
Whichever of these factors played in on Saturday, the only thing that really matters is that the Broncs returned to the .500 mark.
“I think you almost have a one goal head start when you play at home,” Hounsome said.
“We have an attitude that we are defending our house,” Meier said of the home field record, which is now 26-8-4 in their last 38 home games. “We want to make sure that nobody comes here and takes that away from us, and that’s what we did today.”
Rider travels to Monmouth Wednesday evening. “We know we need to get some points on the road,” Hounsome said, “and we have two more opportunities to do that. We tied Monmouth at their place last year so that experience should help us. They are a good team.”
“We have two away games left and we need to get a win on the road,” Meier said. “If we play the way we played today we should be alright.”
If Meier plays the way she played on Saturday, she’ll have another hat for her collection.