By Rocco Schirripa
This past fall season has had some serious highs with the field hockey and cross country teams and some serious setbacks for the other Rider sports teams.
It was a season of record-breaking accomplishments for the men’s and women’s cross country team, as it competed in the MAAC Championships on Saturday, Nov. 15. The records keep being broken as the women’s team placed 18th only a year after raising the all-time Rider bar at 22nd, while the men’s team came in 23rd, even without its top runner.
“The women ran really well,” Head Coach Bob Hamer told Rider Sports Information. “[It was] their best finish ever here. The kids ran really well.”
As an overall season analysis, the team has excelled in some areas and suffered in others. The women’s team has raised the bar for the future women’s track teams.
“The women’s team is having a special year that has been highlighted by the team’s second-place MAAC finish,” Hamer said. “It is the highest finish ever for the team and a testament to their ability to commit and dedicate themselves to the work that is required to be successful at this level, and they were rewarded with a great result at the championship.”
The men’s team did not have as much of a spectacular season, but Hamer is looking for them to improve.
“Over the next year we will just need to be more consistent in our races,” Hamer said. “The effort and commitment was there on a daily basis. It just didn’t come together for us in our meets.”
The men’s soccer team has had a letdown season with a record of 2-15-2, but the future looks bright for this squad, which has up-and-comers ready to step up.
“The next thing we have to do is to bring in some quality freshmen to help raise the level of play and make training more competitive,” Head Coach Russ Fager said. “We have some very talented sophomores returning in Andrew Cotes and Jim Bradley and some very talented juniors in Tom Dunn, Nico Tramontana and Cameron Bertel. They will form the nucleus of the team going forward.”
The women’s team did not have an amazing season either, finishing up the season at 2-14-3. They have some improvements to make while the team remains optimistic for the 2009 season.
“The effort and the energy the players gave this year was great,” Head Coach Drayson Hounsome told Rider Sports Information. “With the addition of a few more key players, it will be exciting in 2009. Next season cannot come soon enough.”
The Rider golf team also had its ups and downs, but ended things on a very positive note at its last tournament.
“All season we were just hanging around, shooting some good rounds, some bad rounds, not really putting it together,” Head Coach Bob Whartenby told Rider Sports Information. “But in the last two tournaments we put it together and two of our last three rounds were below 300. This puts a good taste in their mouths and they’ll really want to get back in the spring.”
The women’s field hockey team advanced all the way to the Northeast Conference Championships before losing to defending champs Lock Haven. After a very slow start, the field hockey team really picked things up with its core of seniors and tremendous goaltending by junior Lyndsie Johnson.
“Next year we will need to focus on scoring more goals,” Head Coach Lori Hussong said. “The seniors will be hard to replace, but we will have a strong nucleus of returning players to compete for a title again.”
The men’s and women’s tennis teams finished the season with 2-7 records, and they are ready to make the necessary improvements to better that record for the spring season.
“Casey Jedlinski, captain of the men’s team and No.1 player, had an outstanding fall,” Head Coach Ed Torres said. “The women’s team was led by the only two upperclassmen on the team, captain Danielle Morse and junior Krissy Paich, who shared the very difficult No.1 position.”
The women’s volleyball team had a roller coaster season, with some serious winning runs and some tough losing streaks.
“It was an up and down season,” said Head Coach Emily Ahlquist. “I’m happy that the seniors got to go out on more of a positive note.”