Rider 1, Fairfield 0 (o.t.)
Women’s College Soccer
Rider University 1, Fairfield University 0 (o.t.)
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ—On Senior Day, a freshman stepped in and scored a golden goal.
Rider freshman Priscilla Santos (Glendora, Calif./Glendora) picked up a loose ball right on the goal mouth and kicked in the only goal of the game to give Rider a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory over Fairfield Saturday afternoon.
“A fantastic goal by Priscilla,” said Rider head coach Drayson Hounsome, “even though it was from about a yard out. Still a great goal. We’ve had a lot of fun on the past few senior days and it is usually an underclassman that has the big game.”
“I just saw the ball and the goal,” said Santos, “I didn’t see anyone else. This win was for the seniors.”
“It was a scramble after the corner kick and there were too many bodies around the ball to really see what was going on,” Hounsome said. “Priscilla played the entire game at full back but she’s an attacking-minded player.”
The golden goal, and the victory, gives Rider (8-7-1, 5-4-1 MAAC) fifth place in the final MAAC standings, avoiding the first round of the 11-team MAAC Championship tournament. “That was our focus coming in,” Hounsome said, “to finish in the top five.”
It was the first win for Rider over Fairfield since 2004 and just the fourth win ever for Rider over the Stags in 18 meetings. “Fairfield is a good team,” Hounsome said. “This is the first time I’ve personally had a win against them.”
Fairfield (10-6-1, 6-2-1) had a golden opportunity to win the game in regulation, but missed a penalty kick with just 7:37 remaining in regulation.
The Stags, who have seven MAAC Titles in their rich soccer history, had won their last five games and are the second seed in the upcoming MAAC Championship tournament.
Fairfield out-shot Rider 23-9, including 21-7 in regulation. Fairfield had 12 shots on goal compared to six by Rider.
For Santos, it was her third goal of the season and the second one of the week. It came off a corner kick when the ball was being knocked around in the goal mouth by players from both teams. “On the corner kick I am supposed to stay back and get any of the far balls,” Santos said. “But I saw the ball bounce and I just wanted to get to it.”
Rider freshman goalkeeper Vanessa Perdomo (Hillsborough, NJ/South Brunswick) played the final 53 minutes and made six saves. Rider freshman goalkeeper Bethany-May Howard (Glastonbury, England/Bridgwater College) played the first half and made six saves.
Rider lost 1-0 to Fairfield last year here at Rider and lost 4-0 at Fairfield in 2011.
The Broncs finish the season 6-0-1 at home.
“Knowing we don’t have to play on Thursday is great,” Hounsome said. “We have a game Friday and then we’re in the semifinal. Once you reach the semifinals anything can happen.”
Rider will now play Friday against the fourth seed, Marist, in the MAAC tournament, held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The bottom six teams play on Thursday, October 31.
On Friday, November 1, the three winners from Thursday play the top three seeds, while Rider plays the fourth seed, Marist, in the quarterfinals. “This win gave us what we wanted, to avoid that first round,” Santos said. “Now I think we have a really good chance to win it.”
Saturday is an off day, and the semifinals take place Sunday. The MAAC Championship Game is Monday at 12 noon. The winner of the MAAC tournament advances to the NCAA Tournament.
The Rider graduating seniors, Jennifer Meier (Sayville, NY/St. Anthony’s), Becca Kape (Westfield, NJ/Westfield), Bridgette Bartkowski (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee), Jody Sokol (Bensalem, PA/Bensalem), Carolyn Wiley (Mount Laurel, NJ/Lenape) and Sarah Cirigliano (Nutley, NJ/Nutley), who were honored in a pregame ceremony, now have a record of 36-25-10, including a 21-6-5 record on the Ben Cohen Field. “They graduate with four straight winning records,” Hounsome said. “That’s the first time that’s ever happened here.”