Broncs in Playoffs for 17th Straight Year
College Field Hockey
Rider University 4, Siena College 0
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ— Winner takes all.
Win, and you go to the postseason playoffs. Lose, and your season is over.
When the Broncs’ backs were to the wall, the Rider University field hockey team rose to the occasion, defeating the Siena Saints to advance to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships in the regular season finale Friday.
On Senior Night, senior Carlota Alsina (Barcelona, Spain) had a goal and two assists to lead Rider to victory. Alsina scored in the 57th minute for the final score on an assist from senior Kalyn O'Brien (Southampton, NJ/Seneca).
“Carlota played a really good game, as all our seniors did,” said Rider head coach Lori Hussong. “I think they realized how important it was and they wanted to extend the season. It is always very emotional before Senior Night, but they held themselves together. It was a beautiful ceremony and the outcome was awesome.”
The victory gave Rider (10-8, 4-2 MAAC) a berth in the MAAC Championship Tournament, the 17th straight year for postseason play for the Broncs. “It was a dog fight to get there this year,” Hussong said. “It was a tough year this season but we didn’t want that streak to end.”
Junior Melissa Cunningham (Oaklyn/Collingswood) scored in the 49th minute on an assist from Alsina for a 3-0 lead.
Freshman Daane Koch (The Netherlands) scored in the 23rd minute on an assist from Alsina to give Rider a 1-0 lead. “I was pleased that we scored early and that made the game a little easier,” Hussong said.
The goal by Koch was her team-high 11th of the season, third most in the MAAC.
Rider out-shot Siena (3-11, 2-4 MAAC) 30-6.
Rider freshman goalkeeper Emily Gilligan (West Deptford) made three saves.
Last year Rider won 1-0 at Siena to finish third in the MAAC, but the last time Siena came to Rider the Saints upset the Broncs 2-0 on Rider’s Senior Day. “That was in the back of my mind, and the seniors’,” Hussong admitted. “We gave away the regular season championship that day. The seniors remembered that tonight and were not going to let that happen again.”
Rider now holds a 26-4 advantage in the series with Siena.
Rider will now advance to the four-team MAAC Championship Tournament hosted by Monmouth November 4 and 6. The host Hawks are the top seed and will face Rider, the fourth seed. Fairfield and Bryant are the other semifinalists.
“You have to beat Monmouth to win the title, either in the semis or the finals, so we’re going to give it our best shot, to come up with a game plan and be as prepared as possible,” Hussong said.
On November 4 it will be winner takes all. Rider has already proved it is ready for that.