By Paige McAtee
After two disappointing losses the previous weekend for the field hockey team, Rider took on two non-conference teams, Saint Joseph’s and Holy Cross, hoping to redeem itself. The Broncs lost to Saint Joseph’s in a close 2-1 match on Friday, but came back on Sunday to shut out Holy Cross, 5-0.
“Our team needed to get back on track this weekend after two really tough losses to Delaware and Hofstra,” said head coach Lori Hussong.
Looking to get another win under its belt, the Broncs (4-3) outshot Saint Joseph’s, but ended up falling short for their third straight loss of the season.
“We were very disappointed in our overall performance versus Saint Joseph’s,” said Hussong, noting that Rider outshot them, 22-7.
The Broncs and Hawks (3-4) were tied 0-0 in the first half, but Rider held the advantage, leading Saint Joseph’s 11-2 with shots on goal. Eight minutes into the second half, Saint Joseph’s broke the tie by scoring on a penalty corner.
Rider was trailing 1-0 in the second half with 5:32 left when junior Virginia Egusquiza scored a goal with an assist from sophomore Amber Evans to tie the game. Saint Joseph’s scored again almost one minute later off another penalty corner, giving them the 2-1 advantage.
Freshman goalkeeper Rachel Yacovett made four saves out of seven shots on goal. Saint Joseph’s goalkeeper, senior Kelly Swanic, made 12 saves.
“We didn’t play with cohesiveness and came home with a black-eye loss,” said Hussong.
On Sunday afternoon in the game against Holy Cross (0-6), Rider came back determined to break its three-game skid. It succeeded by defeating the Crusaders in a shutout performance and dominated offensively.
“We were happy to see us rebound against Holy Cross,” said Hussong. “We showed improvement throughout the game.”
Egusquiza scored one goal and had two assists while freshman Sandra Penas scored twice. Penas is leading the team with eight goals and was named NEC Player and Rookie of the Week for the second week of the season.
Also scoring for the Broncs was freshman Alicia Govannicci and junior Megan Pisani, who started the game off on the right foot by scoring the first goal just 2:23 into the game for her sixth goal of the season.
“Right now we are just trying to take one game at a time and give our best effort out on the field,” said Hussong. “We are looking for all of our players to strive to improve and challenge each other in practice in an effort to make our team stronger.”
Rider isn’t off to a sizzling start like last year, but Hussong is still confident.
“We need to continue to work hard the next few weeks so that we can begin conference play at the top of our game,” she said.
Early on, the Broncs have met expectations on the offensive side of the ball. Rider leads the NEC in scoring margin (2.14), scoring average (3.85), shots (155), goals scored (27) and assists (21).
Defensively, the Broncs have been just as good. They rank first in the conference in shutouts (2), and second in goals against average (1.71)
Rider finishes its six game road trip on Friday at West Chester.
The last time the Broncs played at home, they defeated Colgate 5-0. They finally return to their turf as they take on Temple Wednesday at 4 p.m.