Broncs’ backs are up against the wall, coach says

Graduate transfer midfielder Maria Madsen scored her first goal as a Bronc in the 2-1 victory over Siena.

By Ryan Connelly 

Struggling to get past .500, the field hockey team once again went 1-1 this past week. A 2-1 win over Siena and a shutout loss against Fairfield puts Rider at 7-7 overall and 2-2 in the MAAC. Graduate midfielder Maria Madsen scored her first Rider goal on Friday.

“I was so excited, I was really happy to share this experience with the team,” said Madsen. “It was really awesome.”

Only 14:28 into the game Madsen was able to slap the ball in off a rebound, with senior forward Allison Baligian recording the assist. After about 15 minutes, Stephanie Hand, from Siena, was able to strike back with the equalizer making the score 1-1.

In the second half, at 54:27, Baligian was able to get a goal of her own with a little help from sophomore midfielder/forward Tess Coorens, who recorded the assist. Rider had the lead at 2-1 and it would remain that way for the rest of the game, securing the Broncs’ win.

Rider dominated on offense, while the Saints were having a hard time getting something going. The Broncs had a total of 18 shots, 11 of which were on goal. Siena only had three total shots, two of which were on goal.

On defense, freshman goalkeeper Lena Vandam didn’t get to see much action. Vandam finished the game with one goal allowed and one save. Siena’s goalkeeper Mary Crumlish recorded two goals and seven saves.

On Sunday, the Broncs had a hard fought battle against MAAC rival Fairfield. The Stags have been struggling against out of conference opponents this season, with their record sitting at 5-10. However, when it comes to the MAAC, they are the leading team sitting at the top of the standings at 3-1.

Fairfield started the game with a goal at 10:33 by Erin Buckley, giving the Stags an early 1-0 lead. Buckley scored the first and last goal of this game.

Unlike the Siena game, the offense was extremely balanced between both teams. They both had eight total shots, five of which were on goal. Fairfield had a one-shot advantage in the first half and Rider had a one-shot advantage in the second half.

On defense, Fairfield had a small advantage. The Stags had five saves against Rider’s four. Vandam recorded three of those saves and allowed one goal.

As the regular season is coming to a close, teams are trying to make a final push for the playoffs.

Head Coach Lori Hussong said, “We know we really have our backs to the wall, winning out both these last two conference games, would put us in a really good position to qualify for the playoffs.”

Only four teams get in, and as of today these are the standings for the MAAC: Fairfield has the first seed, Monmouth has second, Sacred Heart has the third and Rider has the fourth. Not far behind at the fifth and sixth seeds are LIU Brooklyn and Bryant.

The Broncs look to keep their playoff hopes alive as they take on MAAC opponent Sacred Heart Friday at 7 p.m. at Ben Cohen Field.

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