Men’s College Soccer
Rider University 2, Canisius College 1
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ—With all of the redemption taking place Wednesday afternoon, Rider’s Ben Cohen Field could have been mistaken for a place of worship.
First it was the Bronc goalkeeper, who caused a penalty kick, but redeemed himself by saving it.
Then it was a Rider forward, who missed an easy goal but redeemed himself by scoring the game winner.
When all was said and done, Rider’s prayers were answered and the Broncs came away with a win.
“It was back and forth,” said Rider head coach Charlie Inverso. “It was like a microcosm of our season, where we would look bad and then we would look good.”
Rider sophomore Justin Veltri (Mays Landing, NJ/Oakcrest) had a goal and an assist to lead the Broncs to a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference victory over Canisius Wednesday afternoon.
Rider (8-8-1, 3-5-1 MAAC) took a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute of play when Veltri sent a ball to freshman Christian Flath (Bargeshagen, Germany), who scored from the left side.
“Rory (sophomore Rory Duffy of Plainfield, NJ/St. Peter’s Prep) played a ball into me and I turned to hit it but got jumbled around,” Veltri said. “Christian came in and put it right in.”
The goal was the sixth of the season for Flath, who ranks second in the MAAC in assists (eight) and fourth in points (20).
Canisius (6-9-2, 2-6-1 MAAC) tied the score at 1-1 with 13 minutes left in the first half on a long throw in that was headed into the Rider net.
Veltri scored the game-winner, his second goal of the season, after a nice pass from freshman Travis Nitti (Fort Lee, NJ/Bergen Catholic) with 11 minutes left in the second half.
“I had my chances today,” Veltri said. “I should have put a few in, but we got the win, that’s what counts.”
“Veltri went from the dog house to the penthouse today,” Inverso said of his sophomore forward. “I was on him in the first half after he missed an easy chance but he redeemed himself. It was a great take and those are the kinds of chances he’s good at. I felt confident when he was taking that one after a great ball by Nitti.”
“On the one (goal) I did get Nitti won a 50-50 ball in the middle and played me through,” Veltri said. “I thought I was going to get fouled but I was able to put it in far side.”
“Nitti has a goal and an assist in the last two games,” Inverso said. “He came up big today.”
Rider freshman goalkeeper David Pastuna (Robbinsville, NJ) made five saves, including a penalty kick 5:44 into the game. “You don’t see that very often in soccer but Dave is known for that,” Veltri said. “In practice he saves more than you would expect.”
“I have to balance things out and say that Dave was at fault for being a little slow coming off his line and causing the penalty kick,” Inverso said, “but he really redeemed himself with the save on the PK. And he really played well the rest of the game. Dave was solid today.”
With the victory Rider is now 6-3 at home this year. The win was the eighth of the season for Rider, the most since winning 10 games during the 2000 season. “For a young team like this to get the most wins for the program in 13 years, that’s great,” Inverso said.
Rider out-shot Canisius 17-12, including 10-4 in the first half. “During the middle of the second half Canisius started to come on,” Inverso said, “but we got through it.”
Last year Rider won 2-1 in overtime at Canisius. The last time Canisius came to Lawrenceville Rider lost 2-1 in overtime in the final home game of the 2011 season but the Broncs came back to defeat the Golden Griffins in the first round of the MAAC Tournament.
Rider and Canisius have now met 19 times with the Broncs winning 10.
The 2013 season finale is Saturday, November 9, a 7pm home game against Quinnipiac.
Prior to that game Rider’s graduating senior, Academic All-American candidate Eric Elgin, will be honored. “He’s our captain and that is going to be a big night,’ Veltri said. “He’s always there for us so we want to be there for him Saturday night.”
“Elgin is our captain, just a great leader, and for him to go out with the most wins in 13 years is great,” Inverso said. “We hope to get him one more on Saturday.”
Like Bob Marley sang, “We forward in this generation, triumphantly. Won’t you help to sing this song of freedom, ‘cause all I ever have: Redemption Songs.”