By Chris Masiello
Coming off of two disappointing losses in its previous match ups, the field hockey team swept its weekend games, winning two hard-fought matches against St. Joe’s and Lehigh.
Head Coach Lori Hussong was pleased that her team was able to bounce back from its two previous losses.
“Coming out with two wins was really good this weekend,” Hussong said. “We know we still have a lot to prepare for in order for us to be at the top of our game for conference play.”
Junior back Rachel Schwab was happy to see her team fight hard the whole game.
“The coaches always say we learn most from tough wins,” Schwab said. “So it’s good to see that we don’t let up at any point in the 70 minutes because teams jump on their opportunities when they play us.”
The team’s first game came on the road against St. Joe’s on Oct. 4 in Philadelphia.
Rider (8-3) had to come from behind as it was faced with a 1-0 deficit early in the second half. Although the Broncs were able to quickly tie up the score soon after, they were unable to put St. Joe’s (3-8) away until overtime.
In the extra frame, Rider was able to dominate both shot opportunities and penalty corners, as they did throughout the game, and were finally able to finish St. Joe’s with 1:31 left to play.
Freshman forward Nicole Hareau led the way, scoring both goals for the game.
Assisting on each goal was senior forward Sandra Penas. Her first assist put her at the top of the school’s all-time scoring list, passing former player Virginia Egusquiza’s previous mark of 151 career points.
Two days later, Rider traveled once again, this time to the Ulrich Sports Complex to play Lehigh (2-10, 0-2 Patriot League). The Mountain Hawks, a team Rider defeated easily the year before, played a tough game. The Broncs struggled to finish off Lehigh this time around, something that the coaching staff was expecting.
“Even though their record wasn’t as good, they are a tough team,” Hussong said. “They scored on every team that they have played. I thought their goaltender played very well stopping a lot of tough shots.”
On two separate occasions, Rider gave up one-goal leads before finally pulling out in front one last time late in the second half.
Hareau again led the scoring with two more goals, including her second game winner.
Schwab was impressed with Hareau’s ability to capitalize on Lehigh’s mistakes.
“She was very composed and stayed calm. She cashed in on her opportunities today,” Schwab said. “She seems to be getting to the right places when we need her most.”
Hareau continues her strong rookie year, as she is first in the conference with 10 goals this season.
“Our coach does a great job recruiting top-notch players,” Schwab said. “It is exciting to see how she plays with confidence and poise so early in the season of her freshman year.”
Though Hareau is only a freshman, Hussong expected her to perform well.
“It’s not surprising for someone like Nicole to be in that position,” Hussong said. “She was an outstanding goal scorer for Uruguay as a member of the national team. We knew she had a gift for scoring.”
Another bright spot this weekend for Rider was sophomore goalkeeper Joelle Prettyman, who tallied 13 saves over both games.
Rider will continue play Oct. 9 back home against the University of Pennsylvania (7-2, 3-0 Ivy League).
The Broncs have defeated the Quakers in all three of their previous meetings. Most recently, last season when Penas scored two goals en route to a 3-0 Rider victory.