Tight conference race after trip to Connecticut

By Brandon Scalea

The field hockey team continued conference play last weekend with a road trip to Connecticut, splitting games against Quinnipiac on Oct. 24 and Sacred Heart on Oct. 26.

In Hamden, Conn., the Broncs (9-7, 2-1 MAAC) won in overtime against the Bobcats

(6-10, 2-2 MAAC). Junior back Melyssa Alonso ended the game with a goal 5:41 into overtime for the victory.

Rider needed to win in comeback fashion, however. With 20 minutes left in regulation, Quinnipiac had a penalty corner. The Bobcats’ senior forward Danielle Allan was able to beat the Broncs’ junior goalkeeper Joelle Prettyman on a rebound to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead.

After falling behind, Rider looked to build up the pressure and find an opportunity to get one past the Quinnipiac goalie. With 5:34 remaining in the game, the Broncs had a penalty corner of their own. Sophomore midfielder Melissa Cunningham was able to find senior back Dezarae Fillmyer, who cashed in and put Rider on the board. This tied the match at one and sent the contest into overtime.

Alonso, who has two game winning goals this season already, found the back of the net in overtime to give Rider its 17th win over Quinnipiac in the past 28 showdowns between the two.

On Oct. 26, the Broncs traveled to Fairfield, Conn., for a contest against Sacred Heart. The Pioneers (9-7, 3-1 MAAC) gave Rider its first conference loss of the season, 2-1 in an evenly matched game. It was Sacred Heart’s first win over Rider since 2006.

Just 6:02 into the game, Sacred Heart’s junior midfielder Liz Bergman put the home team on the board early. The 1-0 lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Rider responded quickly.

Just five minutes later, Fillmyer tied the game off a penalty stroke. It was her fifth goal of the season off a penalty stroke and sixth overall. Fillmyer credits her teammates for consistently setting up scoring opportunities for her.

“Without them working hard to find me on the field or get a corner, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to get points on the board,” Fillmyer said.

With 2:59 left in the first half, Bergman struck again for the Pioneers. Prettyman stopped her initial shot, but Bergman was able to put in the rebound. The goal would prove to be the difference maker.

Rider battled in the second half but could not find the net. The 2-1 win for Sacred Heart snapped Rider’s nine-game winning streak against them.

Head Coach Lori Hussong hopes that the team is able to shake off the loss.

“We need to regroup after our loss to Sacred Heart and find a way to improve,” Hussong said. “We know we have the talent to secure a playoff spot in November.”

Currently, Rider is tied for second in the MAAC with Monmouth. The top position is held by Sacred Heart, which sits a game ahead of both teams.

Rider will continue its quest for the MAAC title when it hosts Bryant at Ben Cohen Field on Oct. 31, followed by Siena on Nov. 2. This two-game conference homestand will be the final games for the Broncs this season.

Hussong feels both will be a good test for the Broncs as the postseason approaches.

“These are going to be two very tough opponents,” she said. “If we can stay with our game plan and continue to improve we will reach our goal for the year.”

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