College Field Hockey
Rider University 3, Colgate University 2
HAMILTON, N.Y.—Trailing 1-0 entering the second half, the Rider University field hockey team rallied with three straight goals, all by freshmen, holding on to defeat Colgate University 3-2 in the 2013 season opener Friday afternoon at Tyler's Field in New York.
Colgate scored just over three minutes into the game as the Raiders led 1-0.
“We didn’t play together very well in the first half,” said head coach Lori Hussong who is in her 14th season at Rider. “We had players who were getting their first experience out on the field and it showed. We didn’t possess the ball as much as we should have but we made an adjustment at half time. Overall, we played much better in the second half.”
Hussong pointed out that while it was the rookies who scored, it was the senior leadership of Sandra Penas (Barcelona, Spain) and Alicia Govannicci (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) who really helped secure the win for the Broncs after they trailed at intermission.
“We fell a little bit in the beginning because they scored, but we picked it up, especially in the second half when we came out stronger and played together,” Penas said. “We have to get used to playing together and I think we will be fine.”
“The players who really inspired our team were Alicia and Sandra.” said Hussong. “They did more than their part to help us win the game and gave a champions effort today. They put the team on their back and helped us win. The freshmen were the recipients of all that hard work.”
“We really all came together as a team and connected and hustled a little more when we trailed at the half,” Govannicci remembered. “We ended up working everything out and coming together.”
Hareau scored on a penalty stroke 10 minutes into the second half, tying the game at 1-1.
“I was very excited and nervous, but it was a great experience and I am looking forward to the rest of the games,” Hareau said about her opening game.
“We knew we had to get on the board and we did it,” Govannicci added. “The freshmen did a really great job and do everything that is asked of them. They all work really hard and that is all we can ask of them.”
“The freshmen were excellent,” Penas added. “All the goals were scored by them. They need to continue to play confident and continue to play our ‘Rider style.’”
With less than 16 minutes remaining in the game, O’Brien scored off a Govannicci pass, giving Rider a 2-1 lead.
Hareau scored off a pass from Penas to give the Broncs a two-goal lead with 8:30 remaining in the contest.
“I was lucky, I guess,” Hareau said about being in the right place at the right time to tally twice in her collegiate debut. “Seriously, it was a team effort. The team really came out and did the things we needed to do when we were down by a goal.”
For Penas, the preseason Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year, it was her 134th career point and 26th career assist, third best all-time at Rider.
Colgate scored on a penalty stroke with less than four minutes remaining for the final score.
Bronc sophomore goalie Joelle Prettyman (Newark, Del./St. Mark’s) made two saves to pick up her 10th career win.
“Joelle was outstanding today,” Hussong said. “Even though we got down early, she kept us in the game and communicated well with the defense and gave us a chance to mount a comeback.”
Rider out-shot Colgate 29-9, 18-7 in the second half. The Broncs held a 18-4 penalty corner advantage.
“Colgate’s goalie was exceptional as well,” Hussong added. “When we kept up the pressure, she made save after save and kept them in what ultimately became a one-goal game.”
Rider defeated Colgate 5-1 last season in Lawrenceville. The Broncs have won nine of 21 games all-time against the Raiders. Rider defeated Colgate 5-0 on September 4, 2010 in its first game on the new lighted turf field. The Broncs defeated the Raiders in Hamilton, New York by a 3-1 score on September 6, 2009. Colgate defeated Rider in a neutral site game in West Long Branch on September 7, 2008 by a 3-1 score.
The Broncs lost on opening day in 2012 to Drexel 3-0 before reeling off six straight wins enroute to the Northeast Conference championship and their third straight NCAA Play-In game appearance.
Rider travels to College Park, Maryland to face Georgetown on Sunday.
“We’re going to go in with a positive attitude and learn from our mistakes and continue to work together,” Govannicci said about the upcoming game against Georgetown.
“We’re going to learn from today’s experience,” Hussong added. “We know some of our weaknesses and we know what we have to work on next time in order to continue what is ultimately preparation for conference play. Right now we are not at our best, but we are going to work towards that and try to learn from each game.”