By Dylan Manfre
The prolific connection between sophomores Julia Divorra and Carly Brosious has been displayed all season.
The dynamic midfield tandem complimented each other nicely as the field hockey team improved to 3-0 in Northeast Conference (NEC) play. The Broncs swept their weekend games with a 4-2 victory at Merrimack and a 2-1 victory over the Long Island University (LIU) Sharks at Ben Cohen Field.
Divorra’s first goal of the game, which was her team-high 10th of the season, was assisted from Brosious late in the opening quarter.
To continue the trend, Divorra assisted on Brosious’ second-quarter goal for her 10th marker of her season.
“Between her and Carly, we know we have a good chance to score when both of them are on the field,” Head Coach Lori Hussong said. “They compliment each other in the fact that they don’t really care who scores. Both are very unselfish. Bottom line is they want [the team] to score and they play like that.”
The two are nationally ranked in points per game, averaging just over two, as Brosious is seventh and Divorra rounds out the top 10.
The NEC announced on Oct. 15 that Divorra was the Offensive Player of the Week. It was the second time she won the award.
Divorra was just named Offensive Player of the Week too, the conference announced. https://t.co/ZyEMw5xNBS— Dylan Manfre (@Dylan_Manfre11) October 15, 2019
At the beginning of the year Merrimack entered a four-year transition to become a Division I program but gave Rider a run for its money throughout the game. Due to the transition, it is ineligible for the postseason tournament.
Though its stats do not count, Merrimack had the second most saves in the nation at 116 entering the contest with just over 11 per game.
It took Rider until the 2:42 mark of the opening period to get off its first shot of the contest as the LIU defense marked up the Broncs right from the opening faceoff.
It came as no surprise to Divorra that she and Brosious would be double-teamed throughout the game.
“It was so hard to play against them in the first quarter. I literally got into a fight with a girl,” Divorra said. “You just have to try and separate from them and not get frustrated.”
Breaking it up was not the easiest task either. Divorra told Brosious at halftime she “felt stuck,” trying to move around the defense. Once she was able to find room, she fired multiple shots and eventually found the back of the cage for her conference-leading 12th goal of the season with 7:03 remaining in the third quarter.
She has contributed a goal in every game this season.
Her role on the team has grown extensively since returning from her season-ending collarbone injury in 2018.
She said that her ability to be a leader for the freshman class motivates her to set an example on the field and be aggressive.
Sophomore midfielder Tess van Ommeren managed to put a ball past LIU goalkeeper Rachel Vellis, who is ranked No. 7 in the nation in saves per game, for her fourth of the season. Junior defender Kaitlyn Flemming assisted the goal.
Did a little digging and found that Vellis is No. 7 in the nation in saves per game. https://t.co/TpTk76VtzK— Dylan Manfre (@Dylan_Manfre11) October 13, 2019
The Sharks’ offense was kept at bay most of the game. However, a couple strong offensive possessions led to Sammy Bell’s fourth goal of her season. From then on, LIU spent more time in the Broncs’ end of the field and got four shots on goal. It caused Rider to rethink its strategy.
“Good job for them that [LIU] picked it up a little bit but we tried to match that and did a good job managing,” junior goalkeeper Lena Vandam said. “It’s all about communicating everybody in the way we come across strong and confident. If everybody is in position, I can make sure we’re all marking the right way.”
In the second half, van Ommeren was carded twice for reach-in fouls.
She was not exactly the player the Broncs wanted off the field in a one-goal game.
“It really hurts us. We can’t afford to get cards like that during the game,” Hussong said. “We played almost 10 minutes short on the field today and that hurts you in the fact that you’re playing one down for a period of time. There wasn’t a lot of energy out there on the field today but enough to get the job done.”
Next up for Rider is Fairfield on Oct. 18, which is 2-0 during NEC play. The winner of the contest takes sole possession of first place in the standings with five games remaining for both teams.
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