Rider splits heading into MAAC play

By Ryan Connelly 

Sophomore defender Alice Otterson scored two goals in two out-of-conference games against Hofstra and Saint Francis.

This past week, the field hockey team went 1-1 in its games against Hofstra and Saint Francis. Against Hofstra, Rider fell 3-2 in a close game, almost rallying back but coming up short. In their game against Saint Francis, the Broncs were able to come away with a win, the final score 2-1.
During this past week, freshman forward Kaitlyn Flemming won MAAC Rookie of the Week. Flemming had two goals against Towson, and now has three this season.

In the loss against Hofstra, Rider was able to get two goals on the board. Unfortunately for the Broncs, the defense let up a goal in the first 42 seconds of the game and then another at 4:02. As the game went on, there was finally a spark to try to get the fire going. At 34:24 Flemming scored the first goal of the game for Rider with an assist from freshman defender Eline De Jong.

The Pride struck back when Philine De Wolf was able to slip the ball past Rider’s defense at 42:18. The score was 3-1 in Hofstra’s favor. At 61:36, sophomore defender Alice Otterson shortened the Pride’s lead. Otterson had help from senior forward Shannon Hughes as she recorded the assist.

After the last goal by the Broncs, there was no more activity in the game, making the final score 3-2, Hofstra.

Although the Broncs lost, they played well on both sides of the ball. Freshman goalie Lena Vandam saved four and allowed three. On offense, the Broncs had a total of 21 shots, nine of which were on goal.

Head Coach Lori Hussong said, “One thing that we need to improve on is mentally preparing to play from the start of each game. Had we been more prepared against Hofstra, we may have had a better outcome. Right now our team is working hard to improve our decision making with the ball under pressure.”

Last Sunday, the Broncs took on Saint Francis, and came out with the win. Rider only needed to score two goals because its strong defense held Saint Francis to only one goal. The first of Rider’s two goals were scored lightning fast — only 38 seconds into the game — when junior midfielder Jessica Randazzo drove the ball into Saint Francis’ net. This was Randazzo’s third goal of the season and 11th for her career.

After the goal by the Broncs, it was a defensive game. It wasn’t until 59:27 that Otterson was able to score a second goal. Once again, Otterson was assisted by Hughes. The goal scored by Saint Francis was off a penalty kick from Thies Kali late in the game.

Rider had a total of 14 shots, 10 of which were on goal. Saint Francis had 18, 10 on target. As a team, Rider had four saves while Vandam only allowed one goal and had nine saves.

On Friday, Sept. 30, Rider will host Bryant in the first conference matchup this season. Hussong stated, “Our next game against Bryant is huge as we would like to start conference play on a positive note.”

In her 16 years as head coach, Hussong has guided the field hockey team to the MAAC Playoffs all 16 times.

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