By Brandon Scalea
Once Northeast Conference rivals, Rider and Lock Haven have met 12 times coming into the game on Oct. 5. The Broncs were looking to defeat the Bald Eagles for the first time in three years. Thanks to goals by freshman midfielder Allison Baligian and sophomore forward Carlie Spaeder, the Broncs held on to beat the Bald Eagles 2-1.
Head Coach Lori Hussong feels that things are starting to click for the young Rider (5-5) team.
“We still have moments where we do not play to our full potential,” Hussong said. “But we have worked hard to improve and gain confidence and trust in each other.”
Early in the first half, Lock Haven (7-5, 2-1 Atlantic 10) pressured junior goalie Joelle Prettyman, but were unable to break the scoreless tie. On a 3-on-1 break, Prettyman made a spectacular save with her chest and her defense was able to clear away the rebound. Prettyman’s goaltending and Rider’s defensive play kept the Bald Eagles off the scoreboard for the half.
With 8:46 left in the opening half, sophomore midfielder Carlota Alsina took a shot on goal, but was denied. Spaeder was in the right place at the right time, and tapped in the rebound for the game’s first goal. The 1-0 score would remain for the rest of the half.
Fans were just beginning to settle in their seats as the game resumed when Lock Haven was able to tie it up only 1:34 into the second half.
Both teams fought for possession to get the go-ahead goal. The game was evenly matched, as both teams finished with six shots apiece, and Lock Haven had nine penalty corners while Rider had seven.
With 20 minutes remaining in regulation, it was the Broncs who would find the net, as Baligian scored on a feed from senior midfielder Laura McCormick.
“Laura sent a beautiful pass into the circle and I was ready with my stick down,” Baligian said. “The energy all over the field had given me a lot of confidence.”
Rider would not let up, as the team continued its strong play for the final 20 minutes, giving the Broncs the victory.
Hussong believes it is very important to get a win over a team like the Bald Eagles.
“Getting back to .500 is huge for our team and getting there by beating Lock Haven is even better,” Hussong said. “Our team has learned how to close out the game on the winning side, which was our biggest problem early on in the season.”
The Broncs will play Colgate University at home on Oct. 10 to try to get back to a winning record.