Only Rider team with winning record, field hockey overtakes two rivals

Sophomore Margaret Ecke battles against the Sacred Heart defense for possession of the ball.  The Broncs picked up two NEC wins in the start of the their conference schedule.By Lauren Clay

The field hockey team picked up two wins last weekend against Sacred Heart and Quinnipiac, bringing its record to 8-5.

In their first Northeast Conference (NEC) game of the season, the Broncs defeated Sacred Heart 3-1. Rider was down 1-0 after Sacred Heart scored 10 minutes into the game, but the Broncs came back to win. Head Coach Lori Hussong felt that the team started the game a little sluggish, but came back with a lot of spirit and intensity.

“They scored early in the game so we were confident that we would be able to tie it up at some point,” Hussong said. “The sooner we scored, the better chance we would have to win the game.”
As the team claimed two victories over the weekend, they became the big dogs of the fall, being the only Rider team at the moment with winning record.

Senior Diana Celebre was a huge asset during the Sacred Heart game, scoring two goals for Rider with one assist.

“[Scoring two goals] felt amazing because Sacred Heart is such a tough team and every conference game is so important to win,” she said. “My teammates did a great job getting the ball down the field where I was then able to put the ball in the net.”

Hussong feels Celebre’s hard work this season is helping her play her best since she has been at Rider.

On Oct. 12, the team traveled to Connecticut, where they beat Quinnipiac 4-0. Hussong was very happy with her team’s play and said they “played their best game in all aspects of the game that day.” The win over Quinnipiac gave the Broncs a 2-0 record in the conference schedule.

Celebre put Rider on the board 17 minutes into the game with a goal off an assist from senior captain Tricia Crotty. Three minutes later, Celebre assisted freshman Virginia Egusquiza, giving the Broncs a 2-0 lead going into the half. Three minutes into the second half, Crotty gave the team a 3-0 lead when she scored off an assist from junior Kelly Crist. A few minutes later, Crotty had her second assist of the game to help Egusquiza score again.

“Tricia is our leading scorer and is playing her best field hockey ever,” Hussong said. “She is such a leader by example and we know when the chips are down that she will do anything to help us get the job done. We are so happy with her effort in all aspects of her life here at Rider. She could not ask for a better ending than this.”

On top of contributing two goals and an assistd, Egusquiza had something else to be proud of — she was named NEC Rookie of the Week for the second time in a row.
“Virginia is coming on strong,” Hussong said. “She is getting better each time out. Her skill level and touch on the ball are so impressive.”

The defeat of Quinnipiac marked Rider’s fifth straight win, their longest streak this season. Aside from winning the game, the team had something else to feel good about ­— they participated in a fundraiser that supported the “Play 4 a Cure” program to raise money for breast cancer awareness.

“We coupled together with Quinnipiac and ran a joint bake sale fundraiser with proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation,” Hussong said. “We thought it would be great to help out in any way we could to help find a cure for breast cancer.”

The Broncs continue their NEC schedule at home facing Saint Francis (PA) today and Robert Morris on Oct. 19.

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