Field hockey leaves NEC for new MAAC program

By David Pavlak

After spending 15 seasons playing in the NEC, the field hockey team will finally call the MAAC its home conference.

The MAAC has officially announced the addition of field hockey to its list of sports, meaning that Rider will leave the NEC for the MAAC next season. Monmouth, Quinnipiac and Siena will be joining Rider in the conference for the 2013-14 season. Other teams are expected to be announced, and Fairfield is scheduled to join in 2015.

Head Coach Lori Hussong said the team will prepare for next season just as it would competing in the eight-team NEC.

“Our mentality and goals will be the same as we approach the start of the fall,” Hussong said. “Every year is a challenge and our players know that we will need to buy into our team philosophy in order for our team to win.”

Sophomore midfielder Dezarae Fillmyer agrees with Hussong, noting that winning is the team’s main focus no matter what conference it is in.

“We are going to continue to work hard and keep up the good work,” Fillmyer said. “Our goals always are the same, to win our conference.”

Rider has had success in the NEC, winning seven regular season titles while appearing in 11 championships. The Broncs were also crowned tournament champions six times.

In the NEC, a rivalry has brewed between Monmouth, Quinnipiac and Rider for conference supremacy.

“We definitely think that the rivalries will continue,” Hussong said. “We look forward to competing against Monmouth and Quinnipiac as in the past both programs have been highlight games during our season.”

The goal still remains the same for Hussong and the field hockey team: to be the best in the conference.

“It would truly be an honor to be the first team crowned MAAC Champions, but we realize that it will not be an easy task to accomplish,” Hussong said. “We will have to work hard to first secure a playoff spot and then play well enough to win the championship.”

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