By Jillian Shutt
Rider’s field hockey team, the regular-season NEC Champions, were upset 2-1 in overtime by Monmouth, the fourth ranked team in the Northeast Conference semifinals.
The game turned in Rider’s favor 40 seconds before halftime with senior Erin McGinniss scoring the first and only goal for the Broncs. McGinniss’ goal was assisted by NEC Rookie of the Year Marlaine Schneider.
Monmouth tied the game a few minutes into the second half with a goal from redshirt senior Enza Mazza.
Despite other opportunities for the Broncs to score, they were unable to finish a play. Regulation ended with the score tied 1-1.
After 81 minutes of the grueling match, Monmouth junior Nora Bosman scored the final goal in overtime as the Hawks pulled off a 2-1 upset.
Monmouth advanced to play defending champion Lock Haven in the championship and fell 2-0.
“The loss was a hard pill to swallow,” said Head Coach Lori Hussong. “We had worked so hard to gain home field advantage and, unfortunately, we came up a little short on that particular day.”
Rider was able to defeat the Hawks 3-1 earlier this season. The last nine times the Broncs have competed against Monmouth they have been victorious.
Since the beginning of the NEC playoff tournament in 1999, this is only the second time a team seeded fourth has won the semifinals. The tables have turned because the last time this happened was in 2000 when the fourth seed, Rider, defeated the conference champions, Monmouth.
This was a tough ending to the incredible season Rider’s field hockey team was having. The team’s overall record for the regular season was 17-2. Although this was a disappointing ending, the Broncs had many acheivements.
“We are really proud of all that the 2009 team accomplished,” Hussong said.
Sophomore Megan Pisani was named All-NEC First Team honors. Pisani finished the season with 21 goals and 46 points, tying the Rider individual season record.
Senior goalie Lyndsie Johnson finished her career with a 30-9 record and 16 shutouts. Johnson entered the game against Monmouth second in the country in goals against average (0.66) and finished her career with a 0.89 gaa. Johnson allowed only one goal during NEC regular season play this season and it was against Monmouth.
Junior Margaret Ecke and sophomore Virginia Egusquiza were named to the All-Tournament Team for Rider.
Rider has won the NEC postseason title three times and won the NEC regular season title four times.
“It was an honor and a privilege to be able to work with such an outstanding group of young athletes,” Hussong said. “They are outstanding, well-rounded young women.”
By Jillian Shutt