Rapids Women's win streak ends at 3 and Rapids Men win their 2nd straight
By: Alex Husting
Despite playing in just five matches this season, Carlie Banks is one of the top scorers in the NISL and she showed why again today. Banks’ hat trick led the way for the Rome Gladiators in a 5-4 victory over the Columbus Rapids. The Gladiators have now won four straight while the Rapids’ three-match winning streak has come to an end.
The Rapids outshot the Gladiators by a thin margin 24-21 but Rome was able to take advantage of those opportunities in the first half.
After the Rapids scored first when Brianna Conley found the back of the net for the second time in two days, Rome went on the attack, scoring two goals in two minutes and a third goal right before halftime.
Banks was leading the charge, scoring one and assisting on another during a half that Rome controlled, taking a 3-1 lead to the locker room.
The Rapids rallied with two back-to-back goals late in the third quarter from Casey Hall and Olivia Jarrell to tie things up leading to a dramatic fourth quarter.
Banks took over and carried the Gladiators to victory with two fourth quarter goals. The first came with over ten minutes remaining in the match and the Rapids answered with an assist from Brianna Conley to Krystal Goss to tie the match again with two minutes remaining. The final goal of Banks’ hat trick was the game winner with 57 seconds remaining in the match.
Banks now has 11 goals on the season, tying her with Olivia Jarrell for first in the NISL Women’s Division. Brianna Conley now leads the Rapids with six assists and Casey Hall is still second on the team in scoring with seven goals.
After dominating the first two matches of the weekend, Bria Riancho struggled against the Gladiators’ attack, with nine saves and five goals allowed on 14 shots against. Rome used two goalkeepers with Brooke Best and Melissa Hutto, each allowing two goals.
The Rapids Men dominated the Rome Gladiators with offense that attacked from all directions in a 6-3 victory. Each of the Rapids’ six goals were scored by a different player as the Rapids moved the ball methodically against the Rome defense.
The Rapids Men have struggled with executing on scoring opportunities this season but tonight was a different story. Despite only 18 shots in four quarters, the Rapids scored on 33% of those shots, taking advantage of the opportunities against this Gladiator defense.
Clayton Adams, Tomas Eskew and Brand Cervantes all found the back of the net to put the Rapids up 3-0 before Rome was able to answer.
A third quarter goal from Juan Rotjes stopped the run momentarily but the Rapids went on the offensive again, scoring three unanswered goals to take a 6-1 in the fourth quarter.
Daniel Duran, Manny Chavez and Niall Torricelli each scored during the run, with Torricelli’s goal being the dagger with 8:34 left in the match.
Rome was shutout in the first half despite 13 shot attempts, three more than the Rapids and were unable to break through the Rapids’ defense until midway through the third quarter.
Sammy Valdivia was the main facilitator for the Rapids offense with two assists this afternoon and he tied for the lead in points with Manny Chavez, who had an assist along with his lone goal.
The Rapids Men rebounded following a tough loss to the Fury on Saturday and will be looking to build on the success of this weekend when they travel to Fayetteville on Thursday, February 24.
ABOUT NATIONAL INDOOR SOCCER LEAGUE (NISL):
The National Indoor Soccer League, which has its league office in Georgia, was founded in January 2021 by a group of experienced sports team/league owners with over 40 years of ownership experience. The NISL has plans to grow the league nationally within the next three years and will kick off its inaugural season in December 2021. The league will operate a Men's & Women's division with each market fielding both teams. Fans will be able to watch a men’s and women’s game each gameday. For more information, go to nislpro.com.