By Carlos Toro and Thomas Albano
It was a historic day for the Rider field hockey team (3-4) as their 2-1 win against Towson (1-5) on Sept. 21 gives Head Coach Lori Hussong her 200th win as Rider’s coach.
Hussong, however, was just as happy about the team getting a victory as she is with getting the 200th win of her Rider career.
“Our win against Towson was good for our young team,” Hussong said. “It felt great just to get the win and especially great with it being our 200th.”
Hussong is in her 15th season as Rider’s head coach. She is a five-time Head Coach of the Year winner and has enjoyed a lot of success during her tenure, winning eight regular season conference champions with Rider being in the NEC and MAAC conferences.
The first half didn’t provide much offense for either team, let alone any scoring. Rider only had five shots while Towson shot the ball three times. All five of Rider’s first-half shots would contribute to all five saves that half for Towson’s sophomore goalkeeper Megan Boyle.
However, the second half proved to be different.
Less than a minute into the second half, freshman midfielder Allison Baligian scored off of a rebound from senior midfielder Laura McCormick to give Rider the lead.
The Broncs doubled their lead about 11 minutes later when McCormick, who would be named MAAC Offensive Player of the Week on Sept. 23, hit a shot to the post that went in for her second career goal and first goal of the year.
“The ball was coming out of the back field and [Senior back] Stacey Dileo sent a hard through ball all the way up the sideline,” McCormick said. “I cut onto it, drew it into the circle and shot the ball.”
The Broncs weren’t going home without a fight from the Tigers. Around the 49th minute, Towson subbed out freshman midfielder Baily Kerr and brought in sophomore defenseman Allie Stauffer and almost scored on Rider less than a minute after the substitution.
Even though Stauffer’s shot was blocked, junior midfielder Stacey Mackintosh scored seconds afterwards to give Towson their only score of the game.
Junior goalkeeper Joelle Prettyman did not need to do much work in the net for the game. She saved two shots, one in each half, in the game against Towson, while allowing only one goal.
The Broncs out-shot Towson 14-6 with Baligian and freshman midfielder Kesheal Henderson each having three shots in the game. Towson, however, had a 6-5 penalty corner advantage.
The Broncs have not found much success this season, uncharacteristic of its program in recent seasons. Rider’s field hockey team has won at least 13 games per season since 2008-09, went undefeated against conference opponents for three straight seasons as a member of the NEC (2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12) and experienced a trip to the NCAA Play-In Game for three consecutive seasons starting with the 2010-11 season.
“The past games have been eye-opening for us and we have learned a lot about what we need to work on that will only help us better to reach our goal as a team,” McCormick said.
Rider will face off against Drexel (4-3) in Philadelphia on Sept. 26 to end their six game road trip before starting a three game home stand on Sept. 28 against Villanova (3-5). The Broncs have a 2-3 record on the road so far this season.
Hussong is eager to play in front of the Bronc fans for the third time this season.
“It will be fun to play again,” Hussong said. “We are very accustomed to not having many home games but it will be great to play in front of our home crowd again and use their energy to help us out.”
McCormick believes the young Bronc team is excited for the experience of playing against teams of higher caliber, rather than just looking for a win.
“We are looking forward to competing against a high level team like Drexel,” McCormick said. “Like I said before, we have nothing to lose against them so it is always exciting to go out and play them.”