By Jacob Tiger
After a disappointing pair of losses in conference play, Rider field hockey took on Bryant and Lehigh, hoping to break out of its funk and regain some momentum.
Even though Rider was able to pick up a blowout 5-1 win against Bryant, the Broncs still carried an aura of frustration and disconnectivity after their 3-0 loss to Lehigh.
Coming off of frustrating consecutive losses, Rider needed to get back in the win column.
Luckily, its next opponent, Bryant, was winless coming into the game on Oct. 15.
Rider dominated Bryant in every metric, earning a much-needed 5-1 victory.
“It’s never good when you lose a couple of games in a row, so it was very good mentally for us to get our confidence back,” said Head Coach Lori Hussong following the win.
Senior forward Julia Divorra quickly found her groove when faced with the soft, cuddly Bulldog defense, as she scored Rider’s first goal after only five minutes of play.
Approximately six minutes later, the Broncs extended their lead when junior forward Danielle Tyson scored her first collegiate goal.
“It was really exciting because everyone looks forward to this moment from the time they get on the college field. … This morning I woke up, and I was like, ‘I’m gonna score,’” said Tyson.
Less than a minute later, another Bronc experienced a career-defining moment when Divorra scored once again, earning her 100th career point, becoming the 11th player in program history to reach such a prestigious milestone.
“I didn’t want to leave America without doing anything. I came here to play field hockey,” said Divorra, who hails from Terrassa, Spain. “All the hard work and sacrifices of being far from home and everything, it paid off today.”
Entering the second quarter up 3-0, the Broncs decided to put a bit more distance between themselves and the Bulldogs by scoring two more goals.
Senior forward Tess Van Ommeren scored Rider’s fourth goal, and senior forward Carly Brosious scored the fifth.
Going into halftime, not only was Rider up 5-0, but the Bulldogs had not taken a single shot of their own. In the third quarter, Bryant finally took their first shot, but sophomore goalkeeper Carlee Fulton was there to deny it.
This game marked Fulton’s third consecutive start for the Broncs, as she filled in for junior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Tomas who has been dealing with a hamstring strain.
Due to the nature of the injury, it is unclear exactly when Tomas will be ready to play again, but the team is hopeful she will return soon.
“It’s a strain, so it’s day-to-day,” said Hussong.
Bryant did manage to score a garbage-time goal against Rider’s second unit, but at that point, the TV had already been fixed, and the Broncs were watching it with a 5-1 win.
Broncs bested again
After cruising by the Bulldogs, the Broncs were now faced with a much taller task in playing the 9-5 Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Oct. 17.
In the end, Lehigh proved to be a worthy adversary, winning 3-0 and becoming just the second team this year to silence the Rider offense.
The Broncs only took two shots in the first half compared to Lehigh’s 11 shots with one goal in the middle of the second quarter.
In the second half, the Hawks were the team taking just two shots, however, they managed to find the back of the cage, making it a 3-0 game. This was the final score, and it marked Rider field hockey’s third loss in four games.
“We watch a lot of film; we go over it with the kids, and the bottom line is, they have to do it on the field. We’re telling them exactly what we need to do in order to win games and to follow the game plan,” said Hussong. “When they do, that’s when we are successful, but when they step out of it, it doesn’t go as well.”
Additionally, Rider was short-handed on defense this game, having to play without Fulton in goal due to an undisclosed injury.
Third-string freshman goalkeeper Brooke Golbeski was forced to step up and fill some big shoes in her first career start.
“Once I got on the field, I just gave it my all and did the best I can, because I can’t really be nervous at that point. So I think I did well with that and was aggressive. Obviously, I still have stuff I have to work on, but I think I did good,” said Golbeski.
On Oct. 22, Rider takes on conference rival Wagner in a game of great significance in terms of standings, as well as character and identity.