By Cristiana Votta
Rider’s field hockey team (6-1 MAAC) reached the end of its season’s road after a defeat in the NCAA play-in game against the University of Massachusetts on Tuesday, Nov. 6. The Broncs finished their season positively with a third consecutive NEC championship after defeating Monmouth 3-2 on Saturday, Nov. 3.
“I was really just happy for the kids,” Head Coach Lori Hussong said. “They’ve worked so hard during the season. The girls came together in the end and to finish off by winning the NEC championship was a very big thing for them.”
Winning the NEC title was a huge accomplishment for the team, especially for the four graduating seniors.
“After winning the championship game, I was so excited,” senior forward Jackie Adams said. “I was really just speechless, completely at a loss for words.”
Following the huge win over Monmouth, the Broncs were set to face 16th ranked University of Massachusetts in the NCAA play-in game. Although the Broncs weren’t the favorites to walk away with the win, they came into the game with high hopes and strong intentions.
“Heading into the game, we knew we were the underdogs and we really just wanted to give it our best and try and make school history,” senior forward Marlaine Schneider said.
Junior forward Sandra Penas felt that the Broncs were outmatched by the talent of their opponents.
“They were just more skilled then we were, but we were definitely more tactical,” Penas said. “We were ahead the whole game; they scored with just a few minutes left.”
Like all good things, the Broncs’ season came to an end, but many goals and accomplishments were achieved.
“Having the home field advantage for finals was a major goal we accomplished,” Hussong said. “Heading into the last weekend of our season, we were 4-1 and we knew that we had to win the next two games against two very strong teams. Winning those two games was an accomplishment in itself. To come out and win back-to-back games like that with pressure to secure a playoff spot and the home field advantage was great.”
The Broncs took strides in all aspects of their game throughout the season and were rewarded with a successful overall record of 15-6.
“The fact that they came together as a whole group as far as friendships on and off the field was a big contributor to our success,” Hussong said. “I think it really was also a big key to the turn around of our entire season.”