Field Hockey continues to roll over its competition

Senior Megan Pisani pushes the puck past her opponent. The Broncs look to repeat as NEC champions and to make another run at the NCAA tournament by winning the play-in game.

By David Nugent

Rider (8-1) stretched its winning streak to four straight games with a 3-0 victory at Villanova (5-5) on Wednesday. The Broncs also posted their fifth shutout of the season.

“Our defense is starting to jell and play lockdown defense, which has been the trademark of our program,” Head Coach Lori Hussang said.

Junior Marlaine Schneider opened the scoring in the first half when she put the ball in the back of the net after the Villanova goalie made the initial save. Junior Gabby Burgo also scored in the first half for the Broncs. Junior Ellie LaBar added the final goal for the Broncs in the second half. The goal was the first of LaBar’s career.

“It was a really good feeling scoring my first collegiate goal because I don’t often have the opportunity to take shots on goal in the game being a mid fielder,” LaBar said.

LaBar’s coach could not be any happier for her.

“We are so happy for Ellie,” Hussong said. “It’s been a long time coming. She was a great scorer in high school, and we knew she was capable of the same in college from her midfield spot. Hopefully this will spur her on to score more often.”

One of the captains on the team, senior Virginia Egusquiza was happy with the performance the Broncs put on display.

“I think tonight was one of those games we played as team, as Rider field hockey is supposed to do,” Egusquiza said. “We are getting better and better every game. We played with passion and all of us gave everything we had. We are really happy about the result of tonight’s game.”

The Broncs are currently in the back half of a six-game road swing.  Rider shut out Bucknell 6-0 Sept. 24 and defeated Lock Haven 3-2 Sept. 25.

Rider next visits Lehigh (2-8) on Sunday at 1 p.m.  Lehigh has dropped eight of its first 10 contests. The Mountain Hawks have also been outscored 36-13. Through Saturday’s games Lehigh’s leading scorer is junior Kimberley Eng, who has contributed four goals and two assists.

Hussong knows it is time to turn the page on Villanova and move on to Lehigh.

“Our Lehigh matchup will be competitive,” she said. “The game will be intense and a good game to play before we start our conference play.”

Hussong sees the Broncs getting better with each game.

“Our team is getting stronger and stronger each time out,” she said. “We are working hard to prepare for our conference games. We know that we need to be at the top of our game when that part of the season rolls around.”

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