By Ryan Connelly
After a promising start to the season, the field hockey team fell into a slump. The women were 2-0 against their first opponents, but then lost three games in a row. During their first two wins, the Broncs only allowed one goal, but in the last three games, Rider let up eight goals.
Head Coach Lori Hussong said, “We need to play better defense and not allow so many shots on goal, and our attack needs to stay poised so we can cash in on our scoring chances. The positives would be that we never quit and kept a fighting spirit on the field. If we were more consistent with our play and put two good halves together, we could have had better outcomes this past week.”
The first of the three opponents was Drexel University. The Dragons came out with a 2-1 win over the Broncs on Sept. 5. The game was very close through its entirety. Drexel scored both its goals in the first half, but Rider didn’t give up and came out with a goal of its own. Unfortunately, the Broncs could not find the net for the rest of the game. Freshman midfielder Marion Waterkeyn scored the only goal at 53:20. Waterkeyn was assisted by senior forward Shannon Hughes. Freshman goalie Lena Vandam recorded four saves but allowed two goals.
The second game against Holy Cross was a bit tougher for the Broncs, and they were shut out. The final score was 2-0. In the first half, it was anyone’s game. It was not until the second half when Holy Cross scored both its goals. This time it was obvious that the offense struggled more than the defense. The Broncs managed to get 15 shots, 10 of which were on goal, but none made it past the Crusaders’ defense, opposed to Holy Cross who shot 19 total goals, 15 on net. Vandam only allowed two goals and 13 recorded saves. It was obvious that the Broncs’ defense did all they could this game.
In the last of these three games, Rider took on Dartmouth, which was their closest match. The final score was 3-4, Dartmouth. Unlike the past two games, the Broncs’ offense was a key contributor. In the first half, it looked like Big Green had this game in the bag. By halftime, the score was 3-0, Dartmouth.
The Broncs were not ready to go down that easily. At 45:12, senior defender Melissa Cunningham started the rally with a hard shot off the corner. She was assisted by sophomore defender Alice Otterson. The second goal was put away by senior forward Allison Baligian and assisted by Hughes. The last goal was scored by the rookie star defender Eline De Jong. Unfortunately for the Broncs, Dartmouth’s three goals in the first half were too much. Big Green scored again in the second half to lock up the win.