By Michael Mack
The field hockey team has gotten back on the right track and is in the midst of a winning streak once again. The Broncs (6-3) picked up wins in non-conference games over West Chester on Friday and Temple on Wednesday to stretch its streak to three games.
Rider’s defense controlled both games, allowing only one goal. At West Chester (3-5) the Broncs won 5-1 while Rider shut out Temple (4-6) 3-0.
Freshman Sandra Penas scored the first goal of the game to put the team up 1-0. After the game was tied up by a West Chester goal, Penas found the back of the net again for her team-leading tenth goal of the season.
“It was good that I scored two goals,” Penas said. “But it was because of the hard work of the team.”
Rider later added insurance goals from junior Megan Pisani, sophomore Jackie Adams and junior Virginia Egusquiza.
“We played an alright first half, but [we had] a great second half,” Penas said. “We started to play more together and we were first to the ball.”
Rider outshot the Golden Rams 25-13 in the game and held a 14-11 penalty corner advantage. Junior goalkeeper Rebecca Lotito stopped nine shots on the way to her second win of the season.
Rider also got assists from Egusquiza, Pisani, Penas and sophomore Marlaine Schneider.
Penas was named the Northeast Conference Co-Rookie of the Week for her play against West Chester.
The game was the sixth road game in a row for Rider, which went 3-3 on the road trip.
The Broncs carried their momentum into a home meeting with the Owls of Temple on Wednesday. It took some time but eventually Rider took the lead and never looked back. At about the 20-minute mark, senior Lindsay Rajeski scored the first goal of the game.
That was all the Broncs would need as Temple only managed four shots, with all of them being blocked by the defense. However, the Broncs didn’t stop, as Egusquiza scored just a few minutes later. She added her second goal of the game later on in the half for her sixth goal of the season.
The defense continued to stifle the Owls, with great play from Rajeski, Adams, and seniors Kristy Kelly and Margaret Ecke.
Rider completely dominated the Owls, only allowing four shots while firing 27 of its own. The Broncs also held a 12-3 penalty corner advantage.
Lotito recorded the shutout, without ever having to make a save. Egusquiza and Rajeski also had assists in the game.
The Broncs beat the Owls at Temple last year 4-1, a win that halted a seven-game losing streak against the Owls that dated back to the beginning of the series in 1984.
After a three-game losing streak, Rider has played the last three matches with a lot of intensity, outscoring its opponents 13-1 in the three wins with two shutouts.
The Broncs’ next game is at home on Wednesday against Villanova (2-6), its last game before conference play.
By Michael Mack