Field Hockey clinches NEC postseason berth

By Dylan Manfre

Carly Brosious and Julia Divorra have been essential to the field hockey team’s success in the 2019 season.

The two sophomore midfielders built a unique connection, which transcends the playing field, but it makes their chemistry on the field that much better.

Their natural bond was clear in Rider’s 2-0 playoff-clinching victory against Bryant on Oct. 25, which sent Rider to its 20th consecutive postseason berth.

The Broncs will be the No. 2 seed in the Northeast Conference (NEC) postseason tournament and have an anticipated matchup against the eventual No. 3 seed Long Island University, which won 3-2 in double-overtime against Sacred Heart on Oct. 25.

Brosious scored her 12th goal of the season as time expired in the opening period. Divorra recorded her conference-leading 14th goal nine minutes into the game. She also leads the NEC with 34 points.

“We’ve always been really close, we were roommates last year,” Brosious said. “It just comes natural and we rely on each other a lot.”

Brosious’ incomparable energy has been a catalyst for the Broncs all year. While she may not have had the best look on the five other shots she took during the game, she sure was confident about them.

“I get my energy from the team,” Brosious said. “[Head Coach Lori Hussong] also said in the huddle how we pick each other up. We really helped each other all over the field and that little bit of communication gives you the confidence to really say ‘I have that shot.’”

In Rider’s 4-1 victory over Hofstra on Oct. 20, Hussong switched up the offense and it proved to work well against Bryant.

After going through a week of practice in the new set, Hussong was confident enough to use the formation, which featured four midfielders and two forwards, in a live-game situation.

“It was good in some ways and not so great because we did not have the offensive follow-up at times because we only had two kids in the circle and, our midfielders, when they started to get tired they were straggling behind,” Hussong said. “We switched in the fourth quarter to our traditional lineup and I think that was a good move because we really got some attack.”

It worked on both ends of the field as Bryant (2-15, 1-4 NEC) did not register a single shot through three quarters. The Bulldogs’ only first half stats were credited to sophomore goalkeeper Marijn Jaarsma, who had 15 saves in her previous game. Jaarsma faced eight shots and registered four saves through the first 30 minutes.

Though the Broncs recorded their first shutout of the season, Hussong wanted to see more offense. She said the team could have done a better job at converting opportunities.

Without sophomore midfielder Kat Conroy, who was out with an ankle injury sustained at practice earlier in the week, Hussong gave freshman midfielder Maeve Riehman the nod in the starting lineup and was pleased with her performance given the circumstances of a starter being injured.

“She did a great job. She’s played well all season,” Hussong said. “In the minutes we have put her on the field she has been very reliable and consistent. With every game she plays she gets more confident and it gives us a luxury of moving [junior defender] Kaitlyn Flemming up to midfield which is really good for us.”

Hussong said that in Conroy’s absence, the starting spot is Riehman’s to lose.

Riehman was slated into the opening lineup for Rider’s fourth-ever match against Providence on Oct. 27 and the team’s first time facing the Friars since 2016.

The Broncs went down, 1-0, to the No. 25 ranked team in the country.

While Divorra did not register a goal, she continued her aggressive command of the offense and had a team-high four shots.

Rider has its final NEC and regular season games to look forward to, both at Ben Cohen Field against Sacred Heart on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. and Lock Haven on Nov. 3 at noon. Each game will be streamed on ESPN+.

Follow Dylan Manfre on Twitter for the latest on Rider field hockey.

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