By Logan VanDine
Looking to build on a strong start to its season, Rider field hockey attempted to start off its seven-game road trip on a good note, but split games against Towson and La Salle.
Taking it to Towson
Heading into its Sept. 9 matchup with Towson, Rider was looking to bounce back after a tough overtime loss to Appalachian State.
The Broncs were able to turn their luck around as they started off their road trip with a 2-0 victory over the Tigers.
The game started out scoreless until the Broncs were able to break the ice in the fourth minute of play. A perfect penalty corner that helped freshman forward Valeria Perales sink the Broncs’ first goal of the game and the freshman’s sixth goal of the season.
After a scoreless second quarter, the Broncs again took advantage of a penalty corner as senior midfielder Sierra Giuliano scored the second and ultimately final goal of the game, which helped lift the Broncs to victory.
“I feel our team played tough defensively and offensively. Our corner execution was much better than our last game. Towson had a very good attacking game, and we were happy to see our defense hold strong,” Head Coach Lori Hussong said.
Hussong also spoke highly of her team’s defensive performance, as senior goalkeeper Kaitlyn Tomas added six saves and another shutout to her stellar 2022 resume.
“Our back line defense stepped up and did a great job in limiting follow up shots on goal, and Kaitlyn played outstanding in goal today. She was confident and aggressive in helping our team to a well-earned shutout,” Hussong said.
Tomas deservedly gave herself some credit for the team’s defensive performance, while being sure to highlight the Broncs’ collective effort.
“I was proud of how I played against Towson. There were moments where my team needed me to come out and be aggressive to prevent possible goals, and I did that. I am also very proud of my entire team; our defense was strong, and offense came through and scored off our penalty corner,” Tomas said.
Tomas also talked about the importance of her team bouncing back with a victory after being shutout in their previous game against Appalachian State.
“It is very important; this was our first shutout of the season. We’ve got to keep doing what we are good at, capitalize on our opportunities and win every game we play,” Tomas added.
Hoping to make it two in row on the road to close the weekend, the Broncs were disappointed as they failed to score and fell to the La Salle Explorers on Sept. 11, 3-0.
The Broncs were hoping that their strong offensive and defensive performance would carry over when they head to La Salle, but after a scoreless first quarter, the Explorers struck first in the second and twice more in the third quarter; that was all La Salle needed to send the Broncs to their second loss of the season.
“LaSalle out-hustled us all over the field today and capitalized on their opportunities. We did not play our best hockey today, but we were encouraged by our fourth quarter play,” Hussong said.
After being shutout in two out of their last three games, Hussong gave a blunt assessment of her squad.
“We know it’s going to take time to get to the level that we need to be for conference play, and we need to work hard the next few weeks to improve,” she said.
“Goals have been hard to come by lately after a promising start, but the silver lining is that we are getting our shots and have had opportunities to score in both games that we have been shut out. We need to take time to improve on staying poised and placing the ball around the goalie, not through the goalie, when we get our chances,” Hussong added.
The Broncs will get some much needed time off as their next matchup will be against Lock Haven on Sept. 18.