On a day when Siena honored one of its most successful senior classes ever, a sophomore had final say in the outcome. Tom Allen made quick work of Nathan Olukanmi's fast cross in the 79th minute for the game-winner in the Saints' key 3-2 MAAC win over Rider Saturday in Loudonville.
Siena stays alive in the race for the MAAC Championships, improving to 3-4-1 in conference action with two matches left to play.
Weather played a key factor in Saturday's game, with the two halves bring played under strikingly different conditions.
The two teams were tied 2-2 at intermission after an open 45 minutes under clear skies. All that changed during the 15 minute break, when steady rain broke through, soaking the field and altering strategy.
Siena controlled possession in the first half, but missed some big chances, especially early. Rider took advantage of its first opportunity when Sonimi Halliday deftly headed Christian Flath's corner past Adam Myers in the 14th minute to break the ice.
Lewis Davenport, who got the spot start on Senior Day, evened things five minutes later when he redirected a hard try from classmate James Beeston. Rider took advantage of some shaky defense 28 minutes into the match when the ball found its way to Travis Natti who was left alone at the top of the box. The freshman easily finished his first career strike to put the Broncs back on top.
Mike Matera's celebrated his Senior Day with his second career goal in the 36th minute, tying the match 2-2. David Itoafasprung Beeston 30 yards out, and Beeston's entry drew David Pastuna out of the net. Matera gathered the feed, spun and knotted the game with a well-placed touch.
Neither team could find its footing in the second half. Matt Needham and Nick Theobald each left with injuries for Siena, and four of the five cards issued came in the final 21 minutes. Allen was ejected after receiving a red card in the final minute, but he had already done his damage.
The decisive tally came when Olukanmi made a deep run after a turnover and wisely gave way to his open teammate.
Even with victories in their final two matches, there are no guarantees the Saints can break into the top four. They found the win column for just the second time in seven tries Saturday, but they still have a fighting chance. Quinnipiac comes to town Wednesday.