Monday, Nov 13, 2023
Broncs defeat top-seeded Iona
by Rider Sports Information
The Rider University men's soccer team defeated top-seeded Iona 2-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championship game on Nov. 12. With the win, the Broncs' secured their sixth MAAC Championship and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
"I'm just so happy for these guys,” says Head Coach Chad Duernberger. “I got here in the spring. They've bought into everything I've taught them with our core values. They've stuck with it. You like to see it pay off for them.”
The Broncs opened the scoring in the 36th minute as sophomore Momo Diop collected a deflection in the midfield at the edge of Rider's attacking third. He played himself a bit closer and to the right, and unleashed a missile into the right upper 90 to beat Iona for the 1-0 lead. The Broncs' lead remained 1-0 at the half.
Less than three minutes into the second half, Iona intercepted the Broncs' clearance and bent a shot inside the near left post from 25 yards out for the equalizer. Still a 1-1 tie into the 83rd minute, senior Babacar Diene made a move into the box to his left and fired a left-footed shot through traffic. The ball deflected low off an Iona defender and past the goalkeeper for what proved to be the game-winning goal.
Things took a dramatic turn in the final 30 seconds of regulation, as a foul was called near the top of the 18-yard box. The referee initially awarded a free kick at the edge of the box, but after conferring with the linesman, changed the call to a penalty kick. With 16 seconds remaining, Iona took the penalty and went low, but sophomore goalkeeper Adam Salama made a kick save, popping the ball up over the crossbar as time expired.
Diop was named MAAC Championship MVP, while Diene, and graduate students Zaki Alibou and Sebastian Rojek, joined him on the MAAC All-Championship Team.