By Tom Regan
Coming off a victory against Robert Morris (8-6, 1-2 MAAC) to begin MAAC play, the Rider field hockey team (10-5, 2-1 MAAC) suffered its first conference loss to Bryant (9-5, 2-1 MAAC) on Oct. 18. The loss marked the second time in three games that the Broncs lost in overtime.
Rider kept the Bulldogs scoreless for the first period. Bryant opened the scoring late in the second period as Rider was quickly running out of time to tie the game, let alone win it. The team was able to tie the game on a goal by senior midfielder Alicia Govannicci with only four seconds remaining to force overtime.
The two teams remained evenly matched throughout two overtimes, leading to a shootout. Unfortunately for the Broncs, lost the shootout 2-1.
“I was really proud of the fact that our team never quit,” Head Coach Lori Hussong said. “We just didn’t perform well in the shootout opportunities that we had.”
Hussong was not the only one disappointed with the offense. Senior forward Sandra Penas felt that they had the chances to win the game.
“Our defense did an outstanding job, but we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” she said.
Following the defeat, Rider had to come out strong on Oct. 20 against Siena (0-13, 0-3 MAAC) to get back above .500 in the conference standings. The Broncs wasted little time in doing so as they scored twice within the first two minutes on goals by freshmen forwards Kalyn O’Brien and Nicole Hareau. Shortly thereafter, Govannicci added her second goal in as many days to push the Broncs out in front 3-0.
Eventually, Rider took a 5-0 lead on goals by junior fullbacks Rachel Schwab and Dezarae Fillmyer.
Hareau’s goal was good for her team-leading 13th on the season. Hareau was pleased with the team’s five-goal performance.
“We played with a lot of energy and attitude,” she said. “I think that the Siena game reflects the way we want to play the rest of our conference games.”
Rider shut down Siena for the majority of the game, allowing only two shots on goal. Much to the disappointment of Penas, the only Saints’ score came with a minute left in regulation.
“Something we need to work on is not letting down toward the end of the game,” Penas said.
With a 2-1 record in the MAAC and only four games remaining in the season, Rider’s competition does not get any easier. The Broncs take on Quinnipiac (9-5, 2-0 MAAC), who currently sits atop the MAAC, on Oct. 25, followed by Sacred Heart on Oct. 27.
Hussong understands that it’s necessary for Rider to win as many games as possible from this point forward.
“We’ve got to come inspired and play our A-game every moment from this point on in order to qualify for the playoffs,” Hussong said.