By Dylan Manfre
Rider’s goalkeeper, Lena Vandam, was in the midst of a stellar campaign heading into the weekend games vs. Hofstra and Villanova with 26 saves, three shutouts, a goals-allowed-average of 2.47 and a MAAC Defensive Player of the Week award.
For a team whose three wins have all come via shutout, Vandam and the defensive stronghold deserved a break. A change of pace seemed due for the Broncs, who entered the weekend with a .500 record of 3-3, 0-0 MAAC.
On Sept. 21, Rider exploded with a 10-4 offensive barrage in the victory over Hofstra.
The first half was a theatrical performance in its own right.
Rider’s first two goals came within a minute of each other. Junior midfielder Tess Coorens scored her team-high sixth goal of the campaign. Sophomore midfielder Marion Waterkeyn sent the second ball in Hofstra’s cage for her fourth of the year. Her fifth goal this season would come 19 minutes later. Waterkeyn’s two-goal performance earned her MAAC Offensive Player of the Week honors, her first career accolade.
“I think our offense was finally sticking together,” Correns said. “[They were] working hard, everyone was running around looking for each other, they were going for the loose balls, they were attacking the circle quick and fast. That created options for us to score in.”
Freshman midfielder Julia Divorra and freshman forward Carly Brosious contributed two goals each. In addition, Divorra assisted on three of Rider’s goals and Brosious assisted on two. Sophomore midfielder Kaitlyn Flemming scored two second-half goals, swelling her total to three for the season. Defender Brittany Romanczuk scored the first goal of her sophomore campaign eight minutes later.
“It was a great day offensively,” Head Coach Lori Hussong said. “Bottom line is, we can’t win championships if we don’t play better defense. We need to keep the ball out of our circle and not give away corners.”
Rider’s 10 goals were the most scored in a game by any MAAC team this season. The Broncs have also scored first in each of their four wins.
Divorra and Waterkeyn provided two first-half goals for the Broncs in a 4-3 overtime loss to Villanova. Rider had the edge over its opponents 16-7 in first half scoring.
Coorens scored her team-leading seventh goal in the 66th minute of the game. Waterkeyn and freshman midfielder Tess van Ommeren assisted the late goal.
“It was a good game, back and forth, for both teams,” Hussong said. “I think both teams had their moments where they were on fire and moments where we had to let up a bit and, I think, when they did that, they took advantage. I was happy to see we had the fighting spirit to get to the overtime.”
With MAAC opponents around the corner, the next few games carry immense implications as Rider aims to get in the four-team playoff bracket which begins on Nov. 2. Unlike other collegiate sports, field hockey has conference opponents mixed in with non conference foes.
Monmouth, the winner of two of the past four conference titles, is the first MAAC opponent Rider will face on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. The contest will be broadcast on ESPN3.
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