WASHINGTON, D.C.--It isn't how you start, it is how you finish that counts. Despite giving up a goal in the first minute of play, the Broncs came back to upset George Washington Saturday afternoon. "This was a great win," said Rider head coach Russ Fager. "They have a good team so this was a great day."
Rider freshman Tom Antonucci (Warrington, Pa./Central Bucks South) scored his first collegiate goal on a header from six yards out to give Rider (3-4) a 2-1 lead with 5:32 left in the first half.
The goal came off of a pass from senior Lee Tomasso (Westfield) on a free kick. "We played a serve in from Lee, it was a set piece, one of their players deflected it and Tom Antonucci ran back and headed the ball into the net," Fager said. "It was a timely place to be and a good place to finish."
"Lee hit the ball to the back post and I was being marked around the 'pk' area," Antonucci said. "I jumped backwards and headed it in while I was falling down. It was just a great ball by Lee."
Junior Colin Jennings (Wall) scored his first goal as a Bronc to tie the score at 1-1 14 minutes into the game. Jennings had two of Rider's four shots for the game. "I don't think Colin actually scored that goal, although they gave it to him," Fager said. "It was about a 50 yard serve from Colin that went in off of a defender's head. They didn't call it an 'own goal' so Colin was credited with a long one."
"Everybody has been working real hard and that goal rewarded everybody for the hard work," Jennings said. "They got one early so I felt we deserved a lucky one too. GW has a very good squad, fully funded with the full amount of scholarships, so coming down here and stealing one from them is a good win."
Reminiscent of last season, GW (3-3) scored just 13 seconds into the game. "They came out playing long ball and that quick goal was very reminiscent of last year," Fager said. Last season GW took a 1-0 lead over Rider just 18 seconds into the game and won 2-1 at Rider. In that game, Rider came back and tied the score just 18 seconds later, and the Colonials scored the game-winner late in the contest.
Senior co-captain Mark Ockenhouse (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks East) was named the Player of the Game by Fager. "The first thing that went through my head was 'not again'," Ockenhouse said of the early GW goal. "I think they actually scored quicker this year, which I didn't think was possible. They hit a long ball down the left side, a quick ball to the right and we had a miss-communication between the backs."
The Colonials out-shot Rider 18-4, including 10-0 in the second half. GW out-shot Rider 8-4 in the first half, but both teams had three shots on goal in the first 45 minutes, when all of the scoring took place. "They put a lot of pressure on our backs," Antonucci said, "and it seemed like they were attacking with a lot of guys."
Rider junior goalkeeper Randall Zapolski (Lawrence) made three saves. "Randy played extremely well," Fager said. "Randy played incredible," Ockenhouse said. "That's the best I've seen him play all season. He was coming off his lines, organizing from the back, making great saves. I can't say enough about him."
Greg Yahr made one save for GW. GW had 12 corner kicks to Rider's one.
Rider travels to NJIT Tuesday evening. The Broncs will again try to finish strong, even if they get off to a slow start.