By Kristie Kahl
Whether it was a lack of numbers, an abundance of injuries or a young team, most of the fall sports were unable to find success in the 2008 season: all but one, that is.
For the most part, the fall athletic teams were unable to reach a .500 record, let alone grasp a handful of conference wins. The only team to make a name for itself was Rider’s field hockey team.
While the volleyball team’s season is still underway with two games left, Rider has only been able to claim two conference wins out of 14. One upside for the Broncs is their overall record, as they almost reach .500.
As for the remainder of the fall sports, the men’s and women’s soccer teams and the men’s and women’s tennis teams were only able to clinch two regular season games each. The women’s soccer team went 2-14-3 overall, and 1-7-1 in the MAAC, while the men’s soccer team went 2-15-2 overall, and 1-8 in the MAAC. With the season done and over, both soccer teams finished in ninth place out of 10 teams in the conference. While the men’s and women’s tennis team claimed no conference wins, they have a chance to answer back in the spring.
The golf team had a decent season, making names for the players at multiple invites while senior Eric LeFante had a stellar start. The cross country team also found some success through individual athletes. The team is still competing, but thus far two underclassmen — freshman Heather Giovagnoli and sophomore Christian Gonzalez — have taken the spotlight for the season.
Rider’s field hockey team, on the other hand, has become the big timer of the fall. The Broncs recently wrapped up their season with a loss in the finals of the Northeast Conference (NEC) to returning champion Lock Haven.
Finishing 13-7 overall and 7-2 in the NEC including the playoffs, Rider has only one loss in the regular season conference schedule, falling to Lock Haven in a 1-0 loss in overtime. The team had an eight-game winning streak during the season, with five of those wins being over conference competitors.
As a whole, the team is a top contender in Rider’s Division I varsity athletics, but individually certain athletes shine as well. Freshman Virginia Egusquiza, from Getxo, Spain, was named the NEC Rookie of the Year while also being named to the All-Tournament team at the NEC Championships. Seniors Tricia Crotty and Diana Celebre and sophomores Kristy Kelly and Margaret Ecke were named to the second team All-NEC after the completion of the team’s regular season.
This year’s postseason marks the team’s ninth straight playoff appearance, all under the coaching skills of Head Coach Lori Hussong, whose overall record consists of 116 wins and 62 losses. The Broncs have advanced to the NEC Championship final game in seven of the last eight seasons, taking home the title in 2000, 2002 and 2004.
Unfortunately, Rider was unable to see achievements in other fall athletics, but the underrated field hockey team deserves its recognition. The community tends to focus its attention on other teams, but the field hockey team has reached many accomplishments in recent years. Granted, the basketball team graduated the 12th lottery pick in the NBA draft, and the baseball team claimed the MAAC title last season, but the field hockey team has had consistent success over the years and deserves some credit.
At the end of this year’s fall season, it was unfortunate for some, but for other teams it is a time to celebrate their victories.