College Field Hockey
Rider University 1, Villanova University 0
VILLANOVA, Pa.—The Rider University field hockey team remains undefeated, after it scored with less than six minutes remaining to defeat Villanova 1-0 on Wednesday evening at Villanova Stadium.
“This is a good win for us, especially since we didn’t play particularly well in the opening half," said head coach Lori Hussong. "Villanova came out physical and we had to make some half time adjustments. We figured it out and played a much tougher final 35 minutes.”
Freshman Nicole Hareau (Montevideo, Uruguay/Colegio Ingles) scored her third goal in as many games, hitting the back of the cage with 5:10 remaining for the final score.
“Nicole’s goal was a result of poise and confidence,” Hussong said. “Villanova’s defense on corners plays was aggressive. She stayed poised, didn’t panic and put the ball home.”
Sophomore goalie Joelle Prettyman (Newark, Del./St. Mark’s) made five saves to record her first shutout of the season.
“Joelle stood tall,” Hussong said. “She played very well. She had strong back line and midfield play in front of her, especially in the second half and Joelle came up with big saves when we needed her to. She kept us in the game.”
“Our defense played outstanding,” Prettyman said. “I had to make a few saves but the defense was right there to help me out, clearing the ball off my pads.”
Each team had 11 shots, with Rider holding a 16-6 penalty corner advantage, including 10-1 in the second half.
“Joelle is playing with more confidence,” Hussong added. “She is becoming more of a leader for us.”
“It was nerve racking,” Prettyman added about the game being scoreless late in the contest. “We definitely persevered and worked hard. When we scored, we kept up the intensity and were able to finish out the game.”
Rider defeated Villanova 2-0 at Ben Cohen Field in Lawrenceville last season and the Broncs defeated the Wildcats at Villanova 3-0 in 2011. Rider defeated Villanova 2-1 in overtime during the 2010 season which at the time was the first Bronc win over the Wildcats since 1993 (1-0 in overtime). The Wildcats defeated Rider in 2008 at Villanova 1-0 on a corner at the end of regulation.
Rider and 'Nova have met 16 times since the series began in 1981 with the Broncs holding a 9-6-1 advantage.
“We are transitioning on the field this season by having the veterans and a large group of freshmen learn together," Hussong added. "We are still trying out different combinations to put the strongest team out there and improve each time out. We are kind of learning on the fly.”
The Broncs travel to Rhode Island to face Brown on Sunday.