Men's College Soccer
Rider University 1, Manhattan College 0
RIVERDALE, NY-What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
After suffering a pair of gut-wrenching conference losses in the final minute of play, the Broncs have come back to win two Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference games in a row.
"Who says it didn't kill us," joked Rider head coach Charlie Inverso. "Credit the guys on this team. After last weekend they could have said 'woo is me, that's the way things go around here' but they didn't. They could have packed it in and folded, felt sorry for themselves, but they didn't. They came out gunning in both games."
The Broncs won their second straight game, defeating Manhattan Sunday morning in a MAAC contest. "Two road wins on a weekend," Inverso said. "We have to be happy with that."
Rider junior Dave Benavidez (Peoria, Ill/Richwoods) scored 2:55 into the second half, gathering a deflected ball and putting it in the top of the net. "Jens (Warncke) played a great ball in," Benavidez said, "it bounced off a few of their players and came to me and I was just lucky enough to bury it."
Benavidez had been "lucky" a lot lately. The 6'3", 200 pound junior now has three goals and an assist in the last four Rider games.
"Maybe Dave is starting to get used to things," Inverso said. "Sometimes as a transfer it takes time to get used to things. He seems to be finding his niche now."
"We're a resilient team," said Benavidez, a transfer from Illinois Central College, where he scored 21 goals in two seasons for the nationally ranked Cougars. "What we went through has made us stronger. It was a rough start but we have a great coaching staff. We're all working hard and lately I've just been lucky enough to be the one finishing. It's been a total team effort."
Rider (3-8-1, 2-2 MAAC) out-shot Manhattan (0-12, 0-3 MAAC) 20-10, including 13-6 in the first half. "We played a pretty good first half," Inverso said. "We were in almost total control of the game. Everything was going our way, but it was still tied 0-0. At half time I had to challenge them, telling them it wasn't good enough."
Rider junior goalkeeper Matt Perrella (North Brunswick, N.J./N. Brunswick) started for the second straight game and made four saves for the shutout. "Matt did what he had to do," Inverso said. "Any time you come away with a shutout you played pretty good."
Perrella picked up his third win of the season, all shutouts, and the eighth win of his career.
Rider defeated the Jaspers 2-0 in Lawrenceville last year and won 3-1 here in New York in 2009. The Broncs own a 9-3-4 advantage in the series that began in 1997. "Manhattan is a better team than their record indicates," Inverso said.
Rider travels to Loyola October 15. "We're looking forward to going to Loyola," Benavidez said, "and coming away with another 'W'."