By Dylan Manfre
Four straight wins had Rider feeling confident heading into its first Northeast Conference (NEC) game on Oct. 4 against Wagner and 2018 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) defending champion Monmouth on Oct. 6.
Sophomore midfielder Julia Divorra has torn up every opponent on Rider’s schedule. She had 10 goals through nine games, one more than she played in a injury-shortened 2018, and helped the Broncs improve to 1-0 in NEC play with a 4-1 win over Wagner.
Divorra scored in each of Rider’s victories this season and sank the second and third goals, both of which were unassisted, against the Seahawks.
Divorra was responsible for eight of the team’s 15 shots on the afternoon.
Senior midfielder Tess Coorens recorded the third goal of her senior campaign and got the Broncs on the board in the first quarter off a penalty strike.
Sophomore midfielder Carly Brosious contributed her ninth goal of the season assisted by class and position-mate Tess van Ommeren.
The defense nicely complimented the offense, as they have outscored opponents 22-7 over the winning streak.
At this point in 2018, Divorra sustained a season-ending injury. Looking back, she never expected to be as good as she is now.
“After I got injured I was down and you don’t want to throw everything out,” said Divorra, who was named an NEC Prime Performer of the Week on Oct. 8. “When [I] started playing again, I just love it.”
Rider sophomore midfielder Julia Divorra has been named a NEC Prime Performer of the Week, the league announced. #NECFH— Dylan Manfre (@Dylan_Manfre11) October 8, 2019
The Monmouth game proved to be one of the biggest tests for the Broncs all season as they faced the 2018 MAAC field hockey champions.
A 5-1 loss is not ideal.
Heading into halftime down 2-0, Divorra said Head Coach Lori Hussong told the team it was playing some of the best field hockey it had all year.
“We were moving the ball good and maybe playing more defense, but still really good,” Divorra said. “[Monmouth] was super effective in our circle and we weren’t.”
The loss does not affect Rider’s conference record like it would have last year. The Hawks now play in the American East Conference after MAAC field hockey disbanded.
Hussong said its efforts throughout the game, however, were not reflective of the final result.
“We possessed the ball better than we have been in the past couple games,” Hussong said. “Our passes were completed well and there was a lot of good teamwork in moving the ball down the field. We just needed to get more of an attacking offense when we generated our corners.”
Four of Monmouth’s eight corners resulted in a goal.
Freshman midfielder Sierra Giuliano recorded the lone goal for Rider off a rebound for her first of the season and collegiate career.
Looking ahead on their schedule, Rider will match up against Fairfield, who leads the NEC with a 9-2 record.
“[The Monmouth game] is good to see where we’re at,” Hussong said. “You have to learn from these experiences and not make the same mistakes when we go into conference play. If there’s any good news [from Monmouth,] it’s that it wasn’t a conference game. Now we have to get back to the drawing board and work on the things we need to work on and perform a little bit better next week.”
The Broncs conclude their road trip with a match against Merrimack, who is in its first year as a field hockey program, on Oct. 11. Rider then returns home on Oct. 13 to face Long Island University.
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