By Ryan Connelly
For the majority of the season, the field hockey team has been hovering around a .500 winning percentage. With a win and loss this past week, Rider managed to keep that pace, sitting at 8-8 overall. Freshman defender Brittany Romanczuk was awarded MAAC Rookie of the Week and freshman goalkeeper Lena Vandam was awarded MAAC Defensive Player of the Week for their performances in the past 2 games.
Romanczuk said “It felt amazing, I think the best part about it was having my team around me”
Last week, Rider was ranked fourth in the MAAC; since beating Sacred Heart, 3-0, it has moved up to the third seed, which would be good enough to get them into the four-team conference playoff for the 17th straight year.
In the game against the Pioneers, the Broncs wasted no time getting things going. Less than one minute into the game, freshman defender Brittany Romanczuk ran down the field on a breakaway and scored her first goal of the season. After a full hour of regulation time, senior forward Kesheal Henderson added to the lead making the score 2-0, with an assist from freshman defender Eline De Jong. Roughly two minutes later, Romanczuk scored the last goal of the game off a penalty shot, making the final score 3-0. Freshman defender Brittany Romanczuk was awarded MAAC Rookie of the Week
The Broncs’ offense had 10 total shots, seven of which were on goal. The Pioneers had five shots. On the defensive side of the game, Sacred Heart and Rider both had four saves, freshman goalkeeper Lena Vandam recording three of those.
Head Coach Lori Hussong said “We spent a good deal of time during the week just working on our scoring and getting in position and being ready to score, we’ve had so many chances during the course of the season that we just haven’t capitalized on.”
In the non-conference game against Big East team Villanova, De Jong started things off with a goal at 9:12. In the 33rd minute, Allison Sayia scored the equalizer for the Wildcats. At 58:40, senior forward Allison Baligian scored the go-ahead goal for the Broncs and was assisted by Romanczuk. Twenty seconds later, Villanova was able to tie it up at two. That was the final score in regulation as the game was headed to overtime. Twelve minutes into overtime, the Wildcats were able to score and Rider couldn’t answer back, resulting in a loss for the Broncs.
Villanova dominated on offense, shooting 24 total shots, half of which were on goal. Rider was able to get 15 shots off, seven on goal. Even though the Wildcats’ offense was producing, the Broncs’ defense held its own, recording nine total saves while Villanova only had five.
Rider plays its final home game on Oct. 27 at 4:30 p.m. against Lock Haven. On Oct. 29, the Broncs will head to West Long Branch for a head-to-head with defending MAAC Champion Monmouth.
Hussong also stated “[Monmouth] is a must-win game…The league is so crazy this year with so many teams knocking off each other. The more wins we have going into the last regular season game of conference play, the better off our chances will be for making the playoffs.”