By Dylan Manfre
The semifinals of the MAAC field hockey championship were the end of the road for Rider, with the Broncs losing to Fairfield 1-0 on Nov. 2.
Rider closed out the regular season winning seven of its last nine contests, earning the team the No. 2 seed in its 19th straight postseason appearance. The Broncs squared up against third-seed Fairfield — the defending MAAC Tournament champions.
Rider scored 50 goals and averaged almost three goals per contest during the regular season. Fairfield’s defense countered that by only allowing 28 goals all season.
“Traditionally we have a very good game with Fairfield. We are very good friends with the coach, and everytime we step on the field we know it’s going to be a battle,” said Head Coach Lori Hussong. “Their defense has been exceptional. They have the defender of the year and the freshman player of the year, Luzi Persiehl, who was phenomenal. We knew we couldn’t go through her. We had to go around her and their goalkeeping has been good as well. We made some adjustments in the second half, and we were able get a couple of corners. We just couldn’t cash in on our opportunities when we had them.”
Sophomore goalie Lena Vandam, who was named the MAAC Goalkeeper of the Year on Nov. 1, recorded six saves for Rider. Senior defenseman Alison Amen registered one defensive save for the Broncs as well.
Throughout the season, much of Rider’s success was predicated on performances by underclassmen.
“We knew we were going to start out slow because we were such a young team. We had phenomenal leadership coming from Jess Randazzo and Alison Amen. They really did a nice job of making the freshman feel comfortable along with the other juniors on the team,” said Hussong. “The freshmen who were out on the field this year with us learned some valuable lessons and the experience alone is going to help carry them along the next three years. Their future is very bright.”
Hussong added that Randazzo and Amen embody exactly what Rider field hockey players should leave the program looking like, and that the team is very appreciative of their service.
Rider had the most players out of the six MAAC teams receive postseason accolades.
Freshmen forward Carly Brosious, junior Tess Coorens and sophomore Lena Vandam were named to the All-MAAC First Team.
Brosious and Vandam were both honored with MAAC weekly awards twice over the course of the season. Brosious was also named National Rookie of the Week by Synapse Sports on Oct. 16. She scored 10 goals and had two multi-goal games.
Freshman forward Tess van Ommeren, senior midfielder Jessica Randazzo and defender Kaitlin Flemming were named to the All-MAAC Second Team.
The Broncs will return all but two players next year giving them hope for another successful season.