A fresh start to another season with a new strategic system paid off for Rider’s field hockey team as they earned a 2-1 victory over the University of Rhode Island in a non-conference game last Sunday.
The Broncs, now in second place in the Northeast Conference (NEC) with a 3-3 record, are beginning to see progress now that they are six games into the season.
“Right now our record is 500, but our three losses were definitely winnable games,” said junior forward Tricia Crotty. “I think we are all getting used to playing with each other and as the season picks up and we get into more conference games the intensity of our play should pick up as well.”
This season, the team decided to engage in a new system on the field.
Now, the Broncs play with four forwards, two midfielders, three backs, and one sweeper. There is always one offensive player up at all times with the other three offensive players behind as the midfielders, backs, and sweeper line up accordingly behind each line.
“It creates more space to pass the ball or dribble up field and there is always an offensive player up field to catch the long balls, along with a sweeper in the back field,” said Crotty.
With three wins under their belts thus far in the season, so far so good.
“So far we seem to be finding each other in the right spots on the field, said junior forward Diana Celebre. “We worked better together against Rhode Island. The defense was a lot more organized and the offense definitely cashed in on their opportunities when in front of the goal.”
Crotty had one goal and one assist, making this her third goal of the season, while Celebre added one more to the board, her second of the season, in order to assure a Rider win.
“We all gave 100 percent effort from the minute the game started,” said Celebre. “We hustled to every ball, and found each other on the field to make things happen.”
Senior goalie Jen LoCastro assisted the Broncs in their victory with 10 saves as Rhode Island out shot the Broncs 15-6.
“In Sunday’s game we were tough especially at the end when they were putting the pressure on, our defense didn’t let down and everyone on the field stayed tough to keep Rhode Island from scoring,” said Crotty. “We also had some nice passing sequences, most created by a defensive clear out.”
Rhode Island was 5-1 coming into the game against the Broncs, but Rider is now victorious being 3-0 all-time against the Rams.
“Our win against Rhode Island was definitely a good win for us, they have been doing very well so far this season and we were the ones to come out on top,” said Crotty. “We played a new system in that game and it took some time to get used to, but the next game it should go a little smoother. I think it was also a confidence booster for going into the conference play this weekend.”
With Rhode Island under their belts, the Broncs still have much work to do before opening up their NEC division games.
“I think we still have a lot of work to do,” said Celebre. “We still haven’t played our best game yet. We have the best talented girls on the team and everyone gives great individual efforts on the field but we still need to work on playing together as a whole.”
The Broncs will begin their Northeast Conference schedule home against Quinnipiac at noon on September 23.