AKRON, OH – Pablo DeCastro (Madrid, Spain/Universidad Francisco de Vittoria) equalized in the 77th minute, but the Rider University men’s soccer team fell at nationally-ranked No. 14 Akron, 3-1, Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. With the loss, the Broncs end the season at 10-10-1, while Akron will advance to face No. 16 Syracuse on Sunday in the Second Round.
Following a scoreless first half, Akron took a 1-0 lead on a David Egbo goal. Egbo dispossessed the Broncs near the top of the 18-yard box and struck a laser past Garret Potter (Lafayette, NJ/High Point). Rider equalized in the 77th minute, with Emmanuel Kouma (Paris, France/University of Paris) crossing from right to left and DeCastro headed it into the left side of the net for the equalizer.
But Akron would score twice in the final seven minutes to take the 3-1 win. Egbo scored his second goal, the game winner, in the 84th minute, heading in Morgan Hackworth’s cross. The Zips were awarded a penalty kick in the 88th minute that Marcel Zajac put away for the two-goal lead.
Quotes and Notes
“I don’t think I’ve had a season quite like this. You could say after the Saint Peter’s game, there was probably a five percent chance of getting here. And we got here. This is a legendary program. We had them tied with 13 minutes to go. We came together, followed the plan, worked together and led each other. I couldn’t be prouder of this group.”
“In terms of the seniors, there’s six guys who will leave with a combination of 11 rings. Elliott’s going to go down as one of the best players to play at Rider. When AC came in for his recruiting visit, we compared him to Eric Elgin, which is about as high of a compliment as you could ever get. And he lived up to every bit of the expectations. Santi came in as a walk-on and worked himself in after not playing significant minutes in his first year, worked his way into starting. So, how could you be any more proud of those guys.”
“(Akron) is one of the best programs in the country. While we’re disappointed, I think we can walk out of here with our heads held high.” – Rider Head Coach Charlie Inverso
- Rider was making its fifth appearance in the NCAA Championships (1997, 1998, 2015, 2016, 2018).
- The meeting was the first-ever against Akron.
- Sophomore goalkeeper Pablo Gatinois (Madrid, Spain/Lycee Francais de Madrid [Oregon State]) left the game due to injury in the 37th minute.
Broncs By The Numbers
- DeCastro’s goal was his team-leading ninth of the season. He eclipsed the eight goals he scored as a redshirt freshman in 2017 and now has 17 through two seasons in Lawrenceville.
- Kouma’s assist was his third of the year, tying Clement Bourret (Orleans, France/Lycee Jean Giraudoux) and Taner Bay (Webster, NY/Webster Thomas) for second on the team.
- Potter made three saves.
- After the first half was an even 6-6 in shots, Akron took a 16-6 advantage in the second half and a 22-12 edge for the game. Despite the 10-shot cushion, Akron put just one more shot on goal than the Broncs, taking a 6-5 edge.
- Akron took nine corner kicks to the Broncs’ three.