College Field Hockey
Rider Goes for NCAA Berth Tuesday
Broncs Travel to #16 UMass for NCAA Play-In
AMHERST, Mass.-For the third season in a row, the Rider University field hockey team will participate in one of three NCAA Play-In games when the Broncs travel to nationally ranked Massachusetts on Tuesday at 1pm.
The game will be video streamed live at UMassAthletics.com.
Rider (15-5) won its third Northeast Conference tournament in a row and the Broncs are led by junior Sandra Penas (Barcelona, Spain) with 19 goals and nine assists (47 points). Penas enters the game third on Rider's all-time scoring list with 53 goals and 25 assists (131 points).
An All-NEC First Team selection for the third straight season after being named the 2010 NEC Offensive Player of the Year and 2009 NEC Rookie of the Year, Penas helped lead Rider to the NCAA Play-In with a five-point performance in the title game against Monmouth this past Saturday.
With Rider trailing 2-1, Penas converted a penalty corner with just under 12 minutes remaining and her unassisted tally from the top of the circle with 7:12 left in the contest was the game-winner as the Broncs defeated the Hawks 3-2. Her efforts earned Penas a spot on the NEC All-Tournament team and she was named the tournament Most Valuable Player.
UMass (14-8) is coming off a 5-0 upset win over top-seeded and then 16th ranked Richmond in the Atlantic 10 tournament.
UMass is now ranked 16th in the latest Penn Monto / NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll.
The Minutewomen enter play on a nine-game winning streak and the Broncs come into the contest having won six straight and eight of the last nine games.
Rider is also led by senior Gabby Burgo (Collingswood) who has 12 goals and 25 points on the season.
Several Rider players are listed in the latest NCAA national rankings with Penas eighth in goals per game and ninth in points per game. Penas led the NEC in goals this season with 19.
On the defensive end of the field, the Broncs are led by senior Ellie LaBar (Oaklyn/Collingswood) and sophomore Stacey Dileo (Fairfield, Conn./Fairfield Warde). LaBar was named to the NEC All-Tournament team and Dileo is 11th nationally with four defensive saves.
UMass is led in scoring by Kim Young (32 points), Thando Zono (29 points) and Nicole Cordero (27 points).
Rider and UMass have two opponents in common with Lock Haven defeating Rider 5-2 on September 22. The Lady Eagles lost to UMass in an Atlantic 10 game 4-0 on October 28. Both teams defeated La Salle, with Rider winning 3-2 in overtime on September 15 and UMass defeating the Explorers in A-10 play 4-1 on October 19.
As a team, Rider leads the nation in penalty corners per game (14.95) with UMass fifth nationally with 14 defensive saves while averaging 3.05 goals per game which is 12th best in the nation.
Both teams have seen extensive work past the 70 minute regulation mark this season with Rider 4-0 and UMass 3-3 in games that have gone into overtime.
Rider is 6-2 in one-goal games this season with UMass 4-5 in games decided by the slimmest of margins.
Rider is 0-5 all-time in NCAA Play-In games, including a 2-1 loss at the University at Albany in 2010 and a 1-0 double overtime loss at Princeton in 2011.
The two other NCAA Play-In games Tuesday are Stanford (15-6) vs. Miami (Ohio) (12-9) in a game that will take place at Longwood University (Farmville, Va.) and Lafayette (17-1) vs. Princeton (16-1) which will take place at Columbia University.
The NCAA selection show will take place at 8pm Tuesday evening.
The NCAA opening round is November 10 and the quarterfinals are November 11 at campus sites. The semifinals are November 16 and the championship game is November 18 in Norfolk, Virginia, with Old Dominion University serving as the final four host.