Broncs open NEC on a high note

Senior Stephanie Walker scored her third goal of the season and had five shots against Quinnipiac last Sunday in the Broncs’ first game of NEC play. Rider won 2-1 in overtime.By Kristie Kahl and Andrew Nelson

The Rider field hockey team (4-4 overall, 1-0 NEC) pulled through in overtime to come out on top in a Northeast Conference (NEC) game against Quinnipiac (1-7 overall, 0-1 NEC) on Sept. 23, putting them in second place in the conference, but fell short in a non-conference game to Temple.

Junior forward Tricia Crotty scored 3:18 into overtime for a 2-1 win over the Bobcats.

“I was just trying to get to the cage as fast as I could and get it past the goalie,” Crotty said to Rider Sports Information. “I knew it was a fast break and all I saw was field. I knew that people were behind me so I tried to go to the goal and get a shot off and if it was saved, there would be someone there for the rebound.”
Rider (4-4, 1-0 NEC) took the lead within 12 minutes of the second half on a goal by senior Steph Walker, which makes this her third goal of the season. Quinnipiac (1-6, 0-1 NEC) came back with 28 seconds left in regulation on a goal off of a penalty shot.

“It was disappointing when (Quinnipiac scored), but we knew we couldn’t give up,” junior defender Julie Vaccarelli said to Rider Sports Information. “Everyone worked so hard. We all knew how important the conference games are so I think we had a lot more intensity today.”

The tie-breaker makes this Crotty’s fourth goal of the season and 26th of her career.

“Crotty’s style of game is made for overtime,” Head Coach Lori Hussong said to Rider Sports Information. “She is so fast and is tough as nails in pressure situations. She’s mentally tough and able to get the job done for us.”
Rider outshot Quinnipiac 13-8 while senior goalie Jen LoCastro made three saves.
“This was a good way to start the conference play,” Hussong said to Rider Sports Information. “I thought the whole game we played really tough, tougher than we’ve played all season. It was a good game.”

After a big conference win, the Broncs took on a challenge against Temple (9-3 overall) on Sept. 25, but fell short by a score of 3-1.

“It was awesome for the kids to see and experience this level of play,” Hussong said to Rider Sports Information. “Every player on Temple’s roster is strong and that’s where we want to be as we head into the conference season. That is why we schedule them, because they are a solid program.”

Temple got on the board 11 minutes into the game and again nine minutes later. They scored again 17 minutes into the second half before Rider freshman Lindsay Rajeski scored her first collegiate goal.

“It was good to score,” Hussong said to Rider Sports Information. “The players never gave up and even though the goal as time expired made it three to one, you may be in a one-goal game or a tie game and that final play may matter more, so it was important that we were able to execute the play. Three to one is a lot better than three to nothing.”

LoCastro made eight saves as the Temple outshot Rider 16-6, and held an 11-5 corner advantage. Temple defeated the Broncs 1-0 last season, and may be on their way to top 20 rankings from votes in the national poll in the past week.

“Temple is a very good team with a lot of great players,” Rajeski said to Rider Sports Information. “It was good to play against them because they are a great challenge and we gave them all we could to challenge back and playing teams like Temple can only make us better.”

The Broncs will continue their conference play tonight as they travel to Robert Morris.

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