By Carlos Toro
The field hockey team traveled to Monmouth for the first round of the MAAC Tournament and gave the host and No. 1 overall seed a run for its money.
The Broncs (10-9, 4-2 MAAC) lost to the Hawks in double overtime after scoring a game-tying goal as regulation expired.
Rider Head Coach Lori Hussong said, despite the loss, the team showed a lot of heart going up against Monmouth.
“We were really proud of our effort on Nov. 4,” Hussong said. “Our team gave it all they could give and they left the field with their heads held up high. We gave Monmouth all that they could handle and had some really good chances to come out on top in overtime. We weren’t happy with the outcome, but we’re happy that we finally competed like we knew we could all year long.”
In a mostly uneventful opening 35 minutes, both teams’ defenses had a strong showing with Monmouth (17-2, 6-0 MAAC) only attempting three shots and Rider only getting to shoot twice in the first half.
However, the floodgates opened the moment the second half started.
Monmouth got on the board first with an unassisted goal by Hawks freshman forward Josephine van der Hoop in the 37th minute. Rider responded immediately thanks to senior forward Carlota Alsina’s solo goal less than four minutes later to tie the game up.
After the first Rider goal, Monmouth increased its offensive pressure, shooting five times in eight minutes. Monmouth eventually took the lead with a diving goal from Hawks sophomore forward Kelly Hanna in the 56th minute. Van der Hoop was credited with the assist on the second goal.
For the remainder of the game, the Broncs tried their hardest to score one more time and it almost looked like Monmouth would win 2-1, until a last-gasp chance forced the game to extend.
The Broncs had a corner shot taken as time expired and Alsina started the play. Junior back Melissa Cunningham eventually managed to get the ball and pass it off to freshman back Alice Otterson, who took the shot and scored, forcing the game into overtime.
All Monmouth could do in the first overtime period was shoot its lights out. In just 15 minutes of overtime, the Hawks attempted 10 shots, six of which were on target. Rider freshman goalkeeper Emily Gilligan turned in a career day and blocked every Monmouth shot attempt in the first overtime period, which went scoreless and a second overtime period was underway.
Rider managed to get several shots off in the second overtime, but none were on target. It wasn’t until the 93rd minute that Monmouth finished the game with a fastbreak goal by Hanna. Rider’s season ended on that goal.
Now the Broncs will try and use the loss as motivation for next season. Most of this year’s team will remain intact, but will be without Alsina, forward Carlie Spaeder, midfielders Leigh-Maxwell Smith and Kalyn O’Brien.
“We need everyone on board this spring to make a conscious effort to make the commitment to improve and to hold themselves accountable for us not reaching our goals this past fall,” Hussong said. “If everyone returning trains hard and plays with the passion and determination that they showed this past weekend, then we will put ourselves in a good position to get back on top and give us a shot at a championship.”