Men’s Soccer Looks to Avenge 2016 Championship Loss to Rider in 2018 Finals Rematch

Will Fowler

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Photo: Liz Flynn

Welcome to Championship Sunday.

After 110 minutes, six goals, a lengthy shootout, and a little bit of luck, the Quinnipiac Bobcats (11-5-3, 9-1-1 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) host the Rider Broncs (11-9-1, 8-4 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) in the game that will decide the conference representative in the NCAA Tournament. This is a matchup not unfamiliar to the Bobcats – this same matchup took place two seasons ago, when the Broncs defeated the Bobcats 3-1 to advance win the conference.

Players to Watch

Quinnipiac – Rashawn Dally

There was one Quinnipiac forward who was consistently making runs and spreading apart the back line of Marist on Thursday, and it was Dally. Dally was one of the best players on the pitch for the Bobcats in their semifinal match – he was constantly coming up with creative movements on and off the ball, displaying an impressive first touch inside the attacking third, and even showcasing his finesse with a brilliant curling effort that found the bottom right just before halftime. He and Whelan play off of each other, and if Dally is playing the same way he played last time out, it will be beneficial for not only him but also the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year in Whelan.

Rider – Elliott Otmani

Without a doubt, Elliott Otmani has been the second best forward in the entire conference this year. He knows how to score, but more impressively, he is an elite passer – his ten assists lead the conference and almost double up the next highest player, which is Rashawn Dally’s six. Rider relies on Otmani to take control in situations when they need a leader, and a conference championship is a perfect description of that. Look for Otmani to be right in the middle of things early and often.

Keys to the Game

Quinnipiac – Set the Tempo

Despite earning a spot in the final, Rider has one of the lowest scoring offenses in the entire conference. They average 1.32 goals per contest, which is eighth among MAAC teams and worst among playoff teams. Quinnipiac, on the other hand, is one of the top scoring offenses in the league – their 1.83 goals per game sits second in the MAAC, just a tick behind Iona. If the Bobcats can go on the forefront early and play the game they usually do instead of sit back and let the game come to them, Rider won’t have the offensive firepower to dig out of a potential two or three goal deficit.

Rider – If It Ain’t Broke…

The Broncs have gotten scorching hot, and it’s come at the perfect time. Winners of four straight and five of their last six, Rider has made up for a poor start to conference play and now finds itself in the conference championship as the five seed. What’s gotten them here is their defense – they haven’t conceded in four games and they are one of only two teams in the conference who allow less than one goal per game (Manhattan). Their defense is what’s gotten them to this point, so why change now?

The Game

Hear all of the championship game action on maac.tv, where Jonathan Banks and Will Fowler will be on the call. For live updates, follow @QBSN, @WillFowler5, and @JonathanBanks8_!