Rider falls to Lock Haven in regular-season finale

By Dylan Manfre

Over the last two seasons, a familiar situation against Lock Haven field hockey has been 1-0 overtime games, with Rider winning just one of them.

Although the 2019 matchup did not require overtime, Lock Haven, which entered the game as winners of three straight shutouts, converted a corner shot in the third period en route to a 1-0 victory in the regular-season finale for both Rider and Lock Haven.

Only Rider’s sophomore midfielder Julia Divorra was able to get a shot off in the first half as the Bald Eagles and the Broncs were deadlocked in a back and forth contest a majority of the way. The shot on goal attempt was stopped by Lock Haven goalkeeper Joaquina Orlandini who finished with five saves.

Fellow sophomore midfielder Carly Brosious, who is second on the team in goals with 12, had a few two-on-one opportunities and said there was an increased sense of urgency on the field this time around.

“[Against Lock Haven] we usually go into double-overtime, double shootouts every year,” Brosious said. “I think we all picked up a little bit and tried to boost each other up.”

Head Coach Lori Hussong mentioned that Lock Haven is traditionally a physical opponent.

“They are a very good team,” Hussong said. “They were stronger, physically, than us, and they wanted it more and won the 50-50 balls.”

During warmups, she admitted there was a little cause for concern.

“You can’t afford to play lackadaisical for a couple of quarters,” Hussong said. “You have to try your best and do all you can. I felt like our pregame was a little slow and sluggish. I realized ‘Hey, we’re not on today,’ and we needed to generate some type of energy and enthusiasm and take it on the field. Bottom line is you have to play better than we did today. You have to play with hustle and desire every minute you’re on the field.”

Rider stands at a 12-6 record and holds the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Northeast Conference (NEC) tournament which begins on Nov. 8. It will have a rematch against the No. 3 seed Long Island University (LIU) at Wagner College.

Since the Broncs last faced LIU on Oct. 3 goalkeeper Rachel Vellis has emerged as a premier goalie in the NEC with 95 saves and was twice named the NEC Defensive Player of the Week in 2019. Junior forward Sammy Bell, who had the Shark’s lone goal in the matchup, has nine goals on the year.

Rider junior goalkeeper Lena Vandam said that heading into the matchup the biggest thing the team has to work on is its communication. She described the upcoming week as a “field hockey week.”

“We’re just going to look at film [from the last time] we played them, try and analyze that and look at corners,” Vandam said. “We’re just going to try and perfect everything this week. It’s going to be all in. For me personally, I want to focus on getting the team together. We know we can play field hockey, we knew we have the skills and want [to win].”

In order to break down what LIU will throw at the team, Brosious brought up a common theme that has developed over the course of the season.

“Communication,” she said, “and all around teamwork. It all roots from communication.”

Follow Dylan Manfre on Twitter for the latest on Rider field hockey.

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