By Dylan Manfre
A weekend homestand featured the fickleness of field hockey as Rider fell to Georgetown on Sept. 13, 1-0, and defeated Colgate, 5-1, two days later.
The Broncs had won their last two games, one of which was a double overtime victory over La Salle. Rider also entered the match with wins in its last five meetings against the Hoyas.
Any momentum that Rider had went away in the second quarter as a Georgetown goal off a penalty corner from Kylee Cunningham caused the Broncs to check themselves.
“Bottom line is you have to be consistent in your play,” Head Coach Lori Hussong said. “You can’t come out and play as good as we did against Drexel and then come out here and not give your best effort when you step out on the field.”
Junior goalkeeper Lena Vandam entered the Sept. 13 contest ranked No. 4 in the nation with a .875 save percentage. Through two and a half quarters, Vandam did not record a save, which was uncharacteristic for last week’s Northeast Conference (NEC) Defensive Player of the Week.
The Cunningham goal was the Hoyas’ first goal in the last three meetings between the two programs.
After the loss to Georgetown, Hussong said four words that could serve as a precursor to Rider’s game against Colgate. “We need to score.” she said.
And score they did.
Sophomore midfielder Julia Divorra scored two unassisted goals en route to her first career hat trick. Senior midfielder Tess Coorens scored a goal and sophomore midfielder Tess van Ommeren joined the party and put one in the cage with four seconds left in regulation.
Julia Divorra has a hat trick. This is not a drill.— Dylan Manfre (@Dylan_Manfre11) September 15, 2019
Julia Divorra has a hat trick and has Rider up 4-1.
Divorra had eight of the Broncs’ 24 shots on the day, seven of which were on-goal attempts. After missing most of 2018 with an injury, she wants to make the most of her time on the field this year.
“When I’m on the field it’s like another world for me and I just feel alive,” Divorra said. “I’m very proud of myself and my teammates for giving me a perfect pass.”
Divorra, who was named the NEC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 17, has been one of the Broncs’ most consistent players as she leads the team with five goals through as many games. That is as many goals as she had in her abbreviated eight-game freshman season.
🏅Official #NECFH Offensive Player of the Week🏅— NEC Field Hockey (@necfhockey) September 17, 2019
👉 Julia Divorra, @RIDERATHLETICS
🗒️ The Spanish-born midfielder totaled four goals and one assist during a pair of victories last week, taking over the NEC scoring lead in the process. pic.twitter.com/kmf9fsAmJT
“She is going to get better and better as the season goes on,” Hussong said. “Between her and Carly [Brosious], they’re a beautiful combination. She received the ball on her stick a lot better today and created scoring opportunities today.”
The Broncs’ impressive first half offense forced Colgate to insert backup goalkeeper Emma Goldberg into the game for the second half. Though she recorded four saves in the third quarter, Colgate did not seem to improve.
Colgate was limited to one shot though the first 26 minutes but had four shots, which included a late first-half goal from sophomore midfielder Nikki Potter, within the final three and a half minutes.
“I think we had a lot of chances in the first half to score but we just made bad decisions with our passing,” Hussong said. “We really looked to score, especially in the fourth quarter and we executed our corners better.”
Junior defender Britany Romanczuk said a communication breakdown was one reason the Georgetown game transpired the way it did. She mentioned that being vocal with each other had to be a priority in defeating Colgate.
“We talked so much more today. I don’t even think we talked at all [against Georgetown],” Romanczuk said. “Everyone coming on the field has a role and tries their best. When you come off the bench we know there’s no let down because everyone’s trying their hardest.”
Hussong echoed similar sentiments regarding the defensive play and said that giving up a goal a game is a relatively good percentage.
“The reason we end up making critical mistakes is because we are tired. When you’re tired you start to do things not the right way. You stand behind the person instead of firing to the ball trying to intercept it so we just have to do a better job of getting kids ready to be subbed into the game and not have the level of play drop down.”
The Broncs begin a six-game road trip that starts at rival Villanova, who they have lost their past two meetings against, on Sept. 22 at noon.
Follow Dylan Manfre on Twitter for the latest on Rider Field Hockey.