By Dylan Manfre
Conshohocken Proving Grounds, the home of Villanova field hockey, holds significant value to Rider sophomore midfielder Carly Brosious.
Brosious played her high school senior championship game for Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School at the field and scored an overtime goal to secure the title.
It was only fitting that Brosious capped Rider’s 4-3 overtime win against Villanova on Sept. 23 in a similar scenario.
“There’s something about that field for me,” Brosious said. “I played all summer there, did open hockey there. Everytime I play on that field, I guess I’m just really comfortable with it.”
Villanova trailed 2-1 a majority of the game thanks to opening goals from sophomore midfielder Julia Divorra and senior forward Tess Coorens.
However, Abby Siena and Lydia Sydnor scored equalizing and go-ahead goals, respectively, for the Wildcats within the final 10 minutes of regulation.
As the clock hit quadruple zeros, senior forward Jade Freeberg tied the game at three, leading to Brosious’ heroic finish.
“It was crazy,” Brosious said. “I think we were starting to lose a little bit of our energy when they scored on us. I pulled everyone in and was like, ‘We can tie this. It can happen.’ From that little huddle we had after they scored, we all came right back and our energy was so high.”
By the end of the 68-minute contest, Rider was outshot 38-7.
That large disparity would cause concern to some coaches, as their team may not have been aggressive enough; that is not the case for Head Coach Lori Hussong, who said “that’s really how the game goes.”
“They had a ton of shots on us but we cashed in on our opportunities,” Hussong said. “You can outshoot a team 22-3 and still end up losing. They put heavy pressure on us and our defense really stood tall. Lena [Vandam] was fantastic in goal, we had a great performance from [midfielder] Kaitlyn Flemming.”
In the two and a half seasons that Vandam has been in the cage for Rider, the junior goalkeeper has 12 all-time saves against the Wildcats. She had a season-high 11 in the Sept. 23 game, which was the first time this season she finished with double-digits.
Vandam has repeatedly said that she is her biggest critic. While posting a goals-allowed average of 1.26, Hussong said she still demands excellence from the entire defense.
“She puts the team on her shoulders,” Hussong said of her goalkeeper. “She is extremely vocal and she is demanding of her teammates and that’s what makes our team defense come through in crunch time.”
Kicking off a six-game road trip with a victory is something Rider desperately needed after playing four of its first five at Ben Cohen Field. Hussong said that communication is one of the things that needs to improve in order to have a successful road trip.
“We often talk to the team about ‘the more we talk, the easier it is to play,’ and if we can get all 11 kids talking at the same time, that’s when we’re going to be at our best,” Hussong said. “Right now we have a couple kids who aren’t communicating too much, maybe because they’re young or not really sure [of what to do.] It’s one thing to talk and do what you’re being told, as opposed to talking and not knowing what you’re told to do.”
Next up for Rider is a trip to face Towson on Sept. 27, which it has shutout in its last three meetings.
In its last six meetings, the Tigers have only been able to score in two of the last six matchups against the Broncs, all of which have gone in Rider’s favor.