College Field Hockey
Rider Add Eight
LAWRENCEVILLE--For the Rider University field hockey team to repeat as champions of the Northeast Conference, they have to find a way to replace their all-time leading scorer (Virginia Egusquiza), the two-time national goals against average leader, goalie Rebecca Lotito and the sixth all-time Bronc leading scorer, Megan Pisani.
Rider is hoping eight is enough to accomplish that task.
Head coach Lori Hussong, the reigning NEC Coach of the Year, has announced the addition of eight new comers to the 2012 Rider field hockey roster.
Rachel Ippolite (Woolwich, N.J.), Allison Muschs (Belgium), Melyssa Alonso (Toms River, N.J.), Alexa McIntyre (Mullica Hill, N.J.), Joelle Prettyman (Newark, Del.), Alicia Carthan (Bordentown, N.J.) and Alexis Carter (Manasquan, N.J.) are all joining the Broncs as members of the Class of 2016 and Ailish Fitzgerald (Lexington, Mass.) will join Rider as a junior after transferring from the University of New Hampshire.
Ippolite, a 5-3 center-midfielder and defender from Kingsway High School, was a First Team All-South Jersey honoree and was named the Player of the Year by the Gloucester County Times.
"Rachel is a dynamic and powerful player who can defend as well as score," said Hussong. "We love her aggressiveness and hustle."
A First Team All-Group III honoree from the Courier Post, Ippolite was a National Futures Championship Selectee in 2010 and 2011, while earning academic honors all four years of high school.
Muschs, a 5-7 center midfielder, comes to Rider from Lycee Emile Jacqmain High School in Belgium, playing in the highest Women's Honors Division.
"Allison is a gifted player who can control the midfield but can defend and score," Hussong said. "Following in our tradition of finding excellent players and people, we have found another 'gem' in Allison. We look for her to be productive right away for us."
Alonso is a 5-4 forward and center/midfielder from Toms River High School North, earning First Team All-State and All-County honors as her team's most valuable player.
"Melyssa is a 'Rider' style player," Hussong said. "She brings great speed and vision and combines power and finesse. She will add scoring and should fit right into our system."
McIntyre, a 5-4 forward from Kingsway High School, earned First Team All-South Jersey Group III and First Team All-Tri County honors, while earning High Honor Roll academic honors.
"Alexa brings blazing speed to our squad," said Hussong. "She will fit nicely into our 'pressing' game and will also be a scoring threat."
Prettyman, a 5-6 goalie from St. Mark's in Delaware, earned First Team All-State honors in 2011 after being named Second Team All-State in 2010.
"Joelle is a tremendous athlete," said Hussong. "We love her enthusiasm and work ethic and athleticism. She is a leader and a winner and we feel that will help her to improve daily."
Prettyman also lettered in track, running the 800 and 4x400 relay at the Penn Relays as a senior.
Carthan is a 6-0 goalie from Bordentown, New Jersey, 10 minutes south of Rider, earning First Team Burlington County Scholastic League honors, recording a state high 327 saves as a senior.
"Alicia is a strong athlete," Hussong said. "She's tall (six feet) and that size works in collegiate goal tending. Although she has not received club or futures training, we feel intensive, daily training will bring the best out of her."
Carthan was a three-sport varsity athlete at Bordentown, also lettering in basketball and track.
Carter, a 5-8 defender, comes to Lawrenceville from Manasquan, New Jersey.
"Alexis is a hard-nosed defender who will add depth on defense," Hussong said.
Fitzgerald is a 5-4 midfielder/forward from Lexington, Massachusetts, comes to Rider from the University of New Hampshire. At Lexington High School, Fitzgerald was a three-time First Team Middlesex County All-Star and scored 17 goals and 24 assists as a senior
"Ailish comes to Rider with great skill and technique," said Hussong. "This is a fresh start for her collegiate career and she should add nicely to our offense."
Losing Egusquiza, Lotito and Pisani to graduation is something Hussong thinks the Broncs can overcome.
"We graduated several outstanding players at both ends of the field but we return our top three offensive threats in Sandra Penas, (20 goals as a sophomore), Marlaine Schneider (16 goals) as a junior and Eefje Kok who scored 10 goals as a rookie as well as several outstanding defenders in seniors Jackie Adams and Ellie LaBar," Hussong said. "We return eight starters and while replacing someone as special as Virginia is impossible, we are confident that if our returneees and newcomers work to their potential, we will be able to maintain our level of play. If every player buys into our philosophy, there is no doubt that with a group effort we will continue to be competitive."
Hussong enters the season with a 169-71 record with Rider looking to qualify for the four-team NEC playoffs for the 13th year in a row, all under Hussong.
The Broncs have won five NEC championships (2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2011) and six NEC regular season titles under Hussong (2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011).
Rider opens its 2012 schedule on August 26 in Philadelphia against Drexel and the home opener will take place at 4pm on August 31 at Ben Cohen Field against Villanova.