By Dylan Manfre
Rider field hockey knew how to turn a lackluster game against Wagner where it lost 2-1, into a much-needed victory by the same score over Saint Francis two days after the defeat.
Who’s in goal?
Head Coach Lori Hussong said previously that Rider has “probably” used a different lineup for every game this season.
As the season progressed, some players remained in their positins while others were shuffled. One position Rider is still answering questions to is goalkeeper.
Junior Kaitlyn Tomas missed her fifth game with an undisclosed injury. Sophomore Carlee Fulton did not start either game but did make a breif appearance in Rider’s next game vs. Saint Francis.
Freshman Brooke Golbeski has been Rider’s answer in goal as of late, making her third-straight start on Oct. 22 in a 2-1 loss to Wagner.
Even though she gave up a late goal, Golbeski finished the game with a career-best six saves. This was Rider’s fourth loss in its last five games.
Late in the opening quarter, Wagner struck first off the rebound of a corner that was first saved by Golbeski.
Fulton, who was out with an undisclosed injury, was dressed in her goalkeeping gear and standing on the sidelines during the game. If this game got out of hand, there was at least a possibility Fulton could see action.
Rider’s offense only executed two shots by halftime, which is uncharacteristic given the reputation the offense has developed for itself over the past few seasons.
The Broncs had two corners in the third period, and Divorra was able to convert the second one for a goal tying the game at one. It seemed like Divorra was picking up the pieces for a lackadaisical offense, but the game ended in a 2-1 Broncs loss.
An offensive resurgence.
Rider struck first against Saint Francis en route to a 2-1 victory on its senior day. Carly Brosious scored her 10th goal of the season and it was assisted by fellow senior midfielder Tess van Ommeren.
“We really connect a lot,” Brosious said of her bond with van Ommeren. “She knows where to put [the ball] and I know where to get it.”
She also enjoyed the festivities in the locker room before the game that the underclassmen put on.
This win puts Rider at 3-3 in conference play as it enters a must-win game against Sacred Heart on Oct. 28 for the final playoff spot.
“It was really important,” Hussong said of the win. “First of all, it was senior day, and in order to get into the playoffs, it was a must-win situation for us today. Two, we needed to play well and win in order to continue our season.”
Rider showed signs of much-improved offensive life as it outshot Saint Francis 25-2. The second shot for the Red Flash came on a stroke attempt with a little over one minute left in the game.
Hussong swapped out Golbeski for Fulton on the attempt, who was available, but did not start the game, with a minute left in regulation.
“Carlee Fulton is better at [defending] strokes,” Hussong said.
It did not go Rider’s way as Saint Francis scored a goal.
Hussong may have to reconcile with the fact that Tomas may be out for the season. She still classified Tomas as day-to-day and added she is “making improvements.”
Hussong did not rule her out for the rest of the season.
“We don’t rule anybody out until the season’s over,” Hussong said.
She did commend the job that Golbeski has done in the goal given the immediacy of the situation.
“Brooke has done, actually, an amazing job,” Hussong said. “The only goals that have been scored upon her have been really tough shots, really good shots and whoever wins the job, whoever is healthy enough to play on Thursday, we’re going to put our best team out on the field.”
The Broncs will face Sacred Heart on Oct. 28.