By Cynthia Reyes
In its first Northeast Conference (NEC) game of the season, the field hockey team dominated Robert Morris in a 6-0 shutout, extending its winning streak to five games.
The first goal of the game was scored after only 52 seconds by senior Megan Pisani, with an assist from sophomore Marlaine Schneider. Pisani also scored Rider’s (8-3, 1-0 NEC) sixth and final goal of the day, capping off the victory.
“Scoring twice was very reassuring today,” Pisani said. “All of the hard work paid off and it is definitely a great feeling. It was a confidence booster for the whole team that we got off to a strong start.”
Junior Virginia Egusquiza, the reigning NEC Player of the Week, scored Rider’s second goal of the game and her seventh goal of the season six minutes into play with an assist from freshman Alicia Govannicci.
Robert Morris, now 0-1 in the conference and 3-9 overall, played a tough game. After the first two goals of the game, the Colonials kept Rider out of the net until freshman Sandra Penas scored a goal right before the end of the first period, stretching Rider’s lead to 3-0.
“It was nice to have some of the other players score today,” said head coach Lori Hussong. “Everyone has to be ready when their number is called and they were.”
Sophomores Gabby Burgo and Amber Evans scored the first two goals of the second period, unassisted. For both, the goals were the first of the season.
Rider’s defense also played well, allowing Robert Morris only two shots on goal. Junior Rebecca Lotito made both saves. By the end of the game, the Broncs had out-shot the Colonials an astonishing 41-2.
“[The defense] has been working so hard to be aggressive and that has helped feed the offense by giving us more opportunities to get the ball down the field,” said Hussong on the defensive improvement during the past couple of games.
Pisani says the team learned from their three one-goal losses at the beginning of the season.
“[Now] we are playing better together,” she said. “We have more confidence as a team and are coming to play every game.”
With the win, Rider extended its record of winning NEC openers to five years in a row. Early on, Rider finds itself in a four-way tie for first place with Monmouth, Quinnipiac and Bryant, all at 1-0.
“It is extremely important to open conference play with a good start,” Hussong said. “That was our goal today, and we accomplished it with a tough road win.”
The Broncs travel to Hamden, Conn. to face off against Quinnipiac (5-6 overall, 1-0 NEC) today at 3:30 p.m. Their next home game is Friday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. versus Bryant (4-9 overall, 1-0 NEC).