By Dylan Manfre
Floating around a .500 record most of the season has the Rider field hockey team in need of a spark. Their 2-1 overtime victory over Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) on Oct. 3 filled the void.
Lena Vandam, who was last week’s MAAC Defensive Player of the Week, recorded a career-high of 15 saves. In 11 games this season, all of which Vandam had started, she had recorded a new season-high four times. The VCU match marked the second time Vandam recorded double-digit saves this campaign and was the sixth time she has done so in her career.
The offensive end of the pitch would comfortably reside in the hands of freshmen forwards Gianna Morganti and Carly Brosious.
Morganti scored the equalizing goal in the 48th minute, tying the game at one apiece. It was the first of her collegiate career. Brosious again came to the Broncs’ rescue in overtime, scoring the go-ahead goal, giving Rider its fourth straight victory on the road and their second overtime win of the year.
The forward was named MAAC Co-Rookie of the Week along with Monmouth’s Annick Van Lange on Oct. 1.
“Carly Brosious has been outstanding all year for us and, with every game, she gets better and better,” Head Coach Lori Hussong said. “As a freshman, we’re depending on her to do a lot of things that most freshmen don’t have to do at this point in their careers.”
Brosious also scored the game winner in Rider’s 1-0 win at Lock Haven on Sept. 30 and in their 3-0 victory over Saint Francis on Sept. 16.
With more MAAC games coming up and a roster with little exposure to conference play under their belts, Hussong was aware it will take a bit of time for her team to reach their full potential.
“It was really a test to them against Monmouth,” Hussong said. “They realize every game is very important in terms of conference play, in terms of qualifying for the playoffs. Because we had to make adjustments without Julia [Divorra,] we had to remake ourselves into what we do well and put kids in different positions in order for our team to do well. It’s taking a little bit longer than we thought, but we’re getting better with each game.”
Divorra, a freshman midfielder, missed extended time with an arm injury.
Rider concluded its three-game road trip with their second MAAC contest, this time, battling LIU Brooklyn with another offensive surge defeating the Blackbirds 5-2 on Oct. 7, giving the Broncs their first conference win of the season and stretching their winning streak to three games.
The Broncs put three first-half goals past LIU goalie Molly Jannell, who accumulated nine saves in the afternoon. Brosious and junior midfielder Tess Coorens scored goals 15 minutes into the contest.
The goal by Brosious was her seventh of the year while Coorens went on to score her ninth goal of the season 19 minutes later.
In addition to her offensive production, Coorens added a career-high two defensive saves and was named MAAC Defensive Player of the Week on Oct. 1.
Freshman midfielder Tess van Ommeren also produced a two-goal game, scoring the second and third goals of her young collegiate career.
In the cage, Vandam executed another strong performance for Rider and recorded her third five-save game this season.
The Rider victory extended its road-winning streak to five games, improving their record outside of Lawrenceville to 6-3.
The Broncs return to Ben Cohen Field on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. to play their fourth and final home game of the season when they take on Fairfield in their third MAAC contest of the season.
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