Field Hockey is still Rider’s top sport

 By Steven Eggert

When talking about winning athletics at Rider, the first sports team that always comes to mind is Head Coach Lori Hussong’s field hockey team.

Her office is filled with awards that the team has earned during the past 13 seasons of coaching from the NEC and the NCAA.

Specifically in the last three seasons, Hussong has coached the Broncs to records of 16-4 in 2010, 19-2 in 2011 and 15-6 in this 2012 season. In each of those years, the teams have gone to the NEC playoffs and won the conference championship.

In addition to three consecutive titles, Rider was also ranked first in the NCAA in defense in 2010 and 2011.

With the success that the team had in its two previous years, 2012 was a challenge for the Broncs because they lost key players from the 2010 and 2011 NEC championship runs.

Virginia Egusquiza graduated after the 2011 season as the Broncs’ all-time leader in scoring and assists, a three-time Northeast Conference player of the year and arguably is the best player in Rider field hockey history.

Megan Pisani also played until 2011. As team captain, she led the team and ended her Rider career sixth on Rider’s all-time scoring list with 51 goals and 10 assists.

Rebecca Lotito was part of the same class as both Pisani and Egusquiza. She was a goaltender who helped the Broncs become the top defensive team in the nation in 2010 and 2011. She graduated with a career record of 32-4 and had 16 shutouts.

This season, Hussong had two freshmen goalies, only four seniors and 14 of the 23 players on her roster were underclassmen. Going into the season, the question was: How would they perform after graduating significant players?

Hussong coaches alongside her husband Dan Hussong. Their roles in coaching and recruiting have helped to produce a force to be reckoned with in the NEC and in the NCAA. The two have a tremendous passion for coaching and sports.

Lori Hussong’s job is to handle strategies, conditioning and get the team ready for every game. With winning records the last few years along with three straight NEC titles, it’s safe to say her hard work has paid off with tremendous success.

Her husband coaches the goaltenders and recruits players. Not only does he get players locally from surrounding states, but he has also recruited talented players internationally. Specifically, three players on this season’s championship team come from overseas.

Belgian freshman midfielder Allison Muschs played every game in 2012 scoring eight goals and nine assists, while Dutch sophomore Eefje Kok has had 12 goals and three assists in her first two years.

Junior Spaniard Sandra Penas has already made a name for herself in the NCAA and NEC conference. Through three seasons, she’s been named NEC player of the year twice, ranked in the top 15 nationally in scoring for the past two seasons and is third on Rider’s all-time scoring list with 54 goals and 25 assists.

Even though players come and go from the Broncs throughout the years, the Hussongs have found talented players to replace them. Their abilities to coach and develop players have led their teams to success year after year.

The Hussongs are a model coaching duo for anyone who wants to learn how to lead a successful team.

Combining the passion for coaching with the hard work and devotion, it is no wonder why the Broncs have won titles each of the past three seasons. Not only have the Hussongs earned many awards for their hard work, but they’ve also earned profound respect among the Rider athletic community.

 

Contact this writer at eggerts@theridernews.com

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