By Tom Regan
Following an 8-3 start, the Broncs (9-4, 1-0 MAAC) lost in overtime against the University of Pennsylvania (9-2, 3-0 Ivy League) on Oct. 6. This loss was only the second time the team lost in a home game at Ben Cohen Field since it was built in 2010.
The Broncs jumped out in front with an early 1-0 lead on senior forward Sandra Penas’ eighth goal of the season. However, the Broncs allowed three successive goals to fall behind 3-1. Freshman forward and goal-leader Nicole Hareau evened the score with consecutive goals in the second period, leading to overtime.
The team was unable to find the back of the net on its two shots during overtime. Meanwhile, the Quakers capitalized on a game-deciding goal in the 79th minute.
Following the loss, Hareau, who has scored two goals in each of the last three games, said she understands that it is a team sport and if the team loses, her stats do not matter.
“I think that scoring is just one of my jobs,” Hareau said. “I care about playing my best and helping the team as much as possible.”
Rider went into its first in-conference game standing at 8-4 and trying to get back into the win column at home on Oct. 13. The Broncs squared off against Robert Morris (7-5, 0-1 MAAC).This game was Rider’s first in the MAAC, and coming into the game, Head Coach Lori Hussong expected a difficult matchup.
“I think it’s going to be a tough conference opener,” Hussong said. “Robert Morris is having one of their best seasons ever. They played us tough last year.”
Rider was able to open the scoring in the ninth minute of play with a goal by freshman forward Kalyn O’Brien, off an assist from Penas, to take a 1-0 lead. Rider extended its lead in the 41st minute when Penas added her ninth goal of the season to widen the margin to 2-0. The lead was never relinquished as the Broncs, with the help of sophomore goalkeeper Joelle Prettyman, who had two saves on the afternoon, shutout the Colonials.
The first-place Broncs hope to continue their strong start in MAAC play with games Oct. 18 and 20 against second-place Bryant (8-4, 1-0 MAAC) and last-place Siena (0-11, 0-1 MAAC). Both games will be hard fought, according to Hussong.
“I don’t think there’s one game on our calendar that I can say is a surefire win,” she said. “Every time we step on the field, especially in-conference games, it’s tough.”