College Field Hockey
Rider University 4, Bryant University 2
Northeast Conference Game
Broncs Clinch NEC Playoff Berth
LAWRENCEVILLE--Led by two goals from junior Sandra Penas (Barcelona, Spain), the Rider University field hockey team won its second game in a row, defeating Bryant University 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at Ben Cohen Field.
Penas got Rider (11-5, 4-1 NEC) on the board just 5:30 into the game, tipping in a shot from freshman Allison Muschs (Linkebeek, Belgium) off a corner play.
Penas entered the week 23rd nationally in points and 29th in the nation in goals per game.
Just one minute and 32 seconds later, Penas took a pass from senior Marlaine Schneider (Feasterville, Pa./Neshaminy) and used a chip shot from in front for her NEC leading 13th goal of the season, putting Rider ahead 2-0.
"We started the game on fire," said head coach Lori Hussong. "That was key that we got out to a good, early start."
"It was a good game," Penas said. "We came out strong."
Penas is now sixth on Rider's all-time scoring list with 116 points (47g, 22a).
Bryant (5-12, 2-3 NEC) scored on a corner play in the 30th minute and the Bulldogs trailed 2-1 at intermission.
"Bryant is a good, quality team that plays hard," said Hussong. "They fought to the end and it was a tough game to win."
Schneider scored her eighth goal of the year, six minutes into the second half on a blast from the right side to give Rider a two-goal lead.
"My goal was honestly luck," Schneider said. "I just went in and ripped the ball and it went in."
Schneider is now eighth on the all-time scoring list at Rider with 104 points (35g, 34a).
"We had a lot of nice chances to score and we just have to get the ball in the cage," Hussong said. "We hit the post two or three times and the crossbar once; sometimes you are unlucky."
Speaking of unlucky, 10 minutes before the game, Rider lost sophomore defender Dezarae Fillmyer (Roebling/Florence) to an injury, causing the Broncs to make a few last minute adjustments.
"Losing Dez was a huge loss for the defense," Hussong said. "She is very steady and pulls the backfield together. As a team, we really stepped up and sophomore Katie Fanning (Bridgewater/Bridgewater-Raritan) did an excellent job filling in."
With 26 minutes left in the game, senior Gabby Burgo (Collingswood) rebounded her own shot for her 10th goal of the season, and the Broncs led 4-1.
Bryant kept up the pressure and tipped in a pass on a corner play with less than 17 minutes remaining for the final score.
Rider out-shot Bryant 23-9, 10-6 in shots on goal.
The Broncs had 24 penalty corners in the game to three for Bryant. Rider leads the nation averaging 13.14 penalty corners per game.
"We've had a lot of scoring opportunities," Hussong said. "It is a matter of everyone staying calm and doing what they have to in finishing off the play. If we execute our corners, it will take the pressure off our defense."
Freshman Joelle Prettyman (Newark, Del./St. Mark's) had four saves for Rider, recording her fifth win of the season.
Bryant is the most recent addition to the NEC, having moved up from Division II to Division I. Rider has won all five meetings with the Bryant Bulldogs, including a 6-0 victory last year in Rhode Island.
Today's game was Rider's annual participation in 'Play 4 The Cure' as the Broncs wore pink to raise awareness and donations to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
"We always play this game for team mentor Cathy Carter-Romero (Rider's Director of Publications) who is a survivor," Hussong said. "We want to do what we can to find a cure for a disease that has really affected our team, parents of players and now former players. It's our small way to try and support them as they continue to battle this disease."
"The entire time, we were trying to do this for Cathy," Schneider said about the 'Play 4 The Cure' effort. "That's all it was about, winning the game for her and others affected by breast cancer."
"This was a special game for us," Penas added. "It was good that we came out with the win and that we were able to dedicate the effort to not only Cathy but all cancer survivors."
Rider clinched a playoff berth for the 13th straight season, all under Hussong.
"We are now focusing on next weekend," Penas said. "Our goal is to win the regular season title and host the playoffs again."
The conference regular season champion will host the playoffs November 2-3.
Rider completes the regular season with two NEC home games against Saint Francis (Pa.) October 26 (7pm) and Monmouth on October 28 at 3pm.
"Both games are going to be really tough," said Schneider.
Rider has now won 22 of 23 games all-time on the campus turf field, which opened in the fall of 2010.
Saint Francis (Pa.) (5-0 NEC) defeated Quinnipiac (3-2 NEC) 2-1 and Monmouth (4-1 NEC) defeated Siena 7-1 on Sunday. Quinnipiac had handed Rider (4-1 NEC) its only NEC loss earlier this season.