Rider triumphs over Quinnipiac men’s soccer in MAAC Championship

By on November 13, 2016

After a long season, Quinnipiac faced off against the Rider Broncs in the MAAC Championship on Sunday Nov. 13 at the QU Soccer Field. The winner would move on to represent the MAAC in the NCAA tournament while the loser’s season would come to an abrupt end.

img_4773Erin Kane | The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The last time Rider and Quinnipiac played each other was on Oct. 29 at the QU Soccer Field. Quinnipiac defender Conor McCoy and midfielders Filosmar “Junior” Cordeiro and Evan Hughes received red cards over the course of that match. Quinnipiac forward Rashawn Dally put the Bobcats on the board first, but that would be Quinnipiac’s only goal. Rider responded with three unanswered goals and won the match 3-1.

Fast forward to the MAAC championship game, and both Rider and Quinnipiac see familiar results. Rider won the conference title in a heated 3-1 win to advance to the national tournament.

“[The Bobcats] wanted greatness. They wanted to achieve. They wanted a championship,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the right to move forward and represent the MAAC in the NCAA tournament.”

The teams were neck and neck throughout the first half. With less than four minutes to go in the half, Rider forward Elliot Otmani scored to give the Broncs a 1-0 lead. The Bobcats were unable to respond to this late first half goal, and went into the locker room down 1-0.

img_4743Erin Kane | The Quinnipiac Chronicle

It didn’t take long for the Bobcats to respond in the second half. Defender Conor McCoy evened the score up, 1-1, just 5:40 into the second half.

Despite Quinnipiac being able to bounce back, this new life for the Bobcats was short lived. About 11 minutes after McCoy’s game-tying goal, Rider forward Clement Bourret fired a shot on goal that deflected off Quinnipiac defender Jeppe Haehre and into the Bobcats’ goal. This gave Rider a 2-1 lead with just 28 minutes left to play.

Down by a goal once again, the Bobcats began to show a sense of urgency. Almost all of the Bobcats were in Rider territory when Quinnipiac was on the attack. The team was able to create numerous scoring opportunities, but were unable to capitalize.

Rider was able to seal its MAAC championship win with another goal. This time forward Jose Aguinaga scored and proceeded to take off his and dropped it on the field. He received a yellow card for his excessive celebration.

Even though play was over after the final whistle, the action wasn’t.

Quinnipiac and Rider players exchanged words with one another, some more explicit than others. There was even some pushing and shoving between players, which forced referees and coaches to separate them.

Although Da Costa appeared disappointed for his players following the loss, he said he couldn’t have been more proud of the team’s progress.

img_4790Erin Kane | The Quinnipiac Chronicle

“Going from one (conference) win a year ago to 13 this year, there’s nothing that these guys should hang their heads over,” Da Costa said.

Da Costa also praised his senior players, Ryan Scheiderman, Brian Westerman, and Liam O’Sullivan, who will not be with the program next year due to graduation.

“Ryan put himself into a position not just to be a role player anymore, but to be a key player. Liam, who was a role player for his first three years and being asked to be a full time starter, to come in, make an impact, and he did,” Da Costa said.

Da Costa had the most to say about Westerman, who unlike Scheiderman and O’Sullivan, wasn’t a starter for the Bobcats.

“I can’t say enough about Brian and his leadership. He finally had a chance to compete for the starting role and he did,” Da Costa said. “When we had to make a difficult decision, he didn’t just accept it. He came out to train and he busted his hump to push [Chrys Iakovidis], and put [Iakovidis] in the position to be where he is now to be the goalkeeper that he is.”

Despite the bittersweet loss in the conference championship game, the Bobcats believe they had a successful season. When asked to describe the season in just one word, Da Costa didn’t hesitate. The word he used to describe this season was “resilient.”

img_4687Erin Kane | The Quinnipiac Chronicle

“The players could’ve took a step back and chalk everything up to ‘Well, we’re young, we’re not supposed to be in this position’ and that we can afford to win six games this year, and it would be a major step forward, but they wouldn’t settle for that,” Da Costa said.

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