Monmouth 3, Rider 0
Women’s College Soccer
Monmouth University 3, Rider University 0
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA—The Rider University women’s soccer season came to an end Sunday in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference semifinals, falling to the regular season champion Hawks of Monmouth.
“I thought we played very well the first half,” said Rider head coach Drayson Hounsome. “but giving up that goal at the end of the half is emotionally deflating. Our goal was not to just reach the semifinals and lose, so it is a huge disappointment.”
Regionally ranked Monmouth (16-1-2), the top seed, scored the only goal it needed with less than three minutes left in the first half, taking a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. “Monmouth’s experience came through in the pressure moments and that was probably the difference.”
The Hawks made it 2-0 with 30 minutes left in the game and went up 3-0 with a goal from 35 yards out with 21 minutes left to play. “We gave up a couple of soft goals in the second half and it is tough to come back from that,” Hounsome said.
Monmouth out-shot Rider (9-8-1), the fifth seed, 17-7, including 11-2 in shots on goal. “Monmouth is a good team,” Hounsome said.
Sophomore Tara Ballay (Delran, NJ/Delran) had three of Rider’s shots, playing all 90 minutes despite receiving stitches after the quarterfinal game Friday. “Tara battled well,” Hounsome said. “It was good to have Tara on the field without blood gushing from her head.”
Ballay was the MAAC Rookie of the Year in 2012 but missed nine games this year with a knee injury. Ballay still finished third on the team in goals and fifth in points this season.
Rider freshman goalkeeper Bethany-May Howard (Glastonbury, England/Bridgwater College), a member of the MAAC All-Rookie team, played the first half and made three saves while allowing one goal.
Rider freshman goalkeeper Vanessa Perdomo (Hillsborough, NJ/South Brunswick), played the second half and made five saves.
Rider has now reached the MAAC semifinals five times, the last time in 2010, and reached the finals twice, in 2002 and 2004, both times losing to Loyola in the Title Game.
The Broncs lost 3-0 at Monmouth this year. Rider and Monmouth tied 1-1 last year, also at Monmouth.
Rider and Monmouth have now met 13 times since the series began in 1999, with the Hawks holding an 8-2-3 advantage in the series. The last time Rider defeated the Hawks was 2003.
The Broncs graduate six players who played in two of Rider’s five semifinal games, including three starters.
Senior Jennifer Meier (Sayville, NY/St. Anthony’s), a Second Team All-MAAC selection this year after earning First Team honors last season, graduates third in career goals (27) and fourth in career points (67) at Rider.
Team captain Becca Kape (Westfield, NJ/Westfield) served as the leader of the Broncs defense, and like Meier was a three-time MAAC All-Academic Team member. “Becca was great in the two tournament games down here,” Hounsome said.
Kape and freshman Heather Maierle (Wantagh, N.Y./Friends Academy) were named to the All-Tournament team.
“Heather had an assist and a goal in the quarterfinal win and in the semifinals did a great job marking Monmouth’s best forward,” Hounsome said.
Senior Bridgette Bartkowski (Marlton, NJ/Cherokee) graduates fourth in career assists (14) and 12th in career points (28).