College Field Hockey
Rider University 4, Towson University 0
LAWRENCEVILLE—In the 2013 home opener, the Rider University field hockey team defeated Towson University 4-0, before over 300 fans at Ben Cohen Field, Friday evening.
For Rider (5-1), senior Sandra Penas (Barcelona, Spain) scored twice and is now one point out of second place on the all-time scoring list for the Broncs with freshman Kalyn O'Brien (Southampton/Seneca) also hitting the back of the cage twice.
Penas took a pass from freshman Carlota Alsina (Barcelona, Spain) and hit a left side blast, just 2:02 into the game to give the Broncs a 1-0 lead.
“We were really happy with the way we came out,” said head coach Lori Hussong. “Scoring four goals is a good thing when you’re struggled putting the ball in the cage. As the game progressed we got better and better. Our defense stood tall tonight and our offense finally started meshing together a little better than we had in the first five games of the season.”
“Scoring early gave us more confidence and we were able to play more relaxed,” said Penas. “When you play relaxed you play better, so it was nice.”
O'Brien tipped in a shot from Alsina to put the Broncs ahead by two with exactly 11 minutes to go before halftime.
Rider led 2-0 at intermission.
O'Brien then converted a Towson turnover in front of the Tiger goal for her fourth tally of the season to give the Broncs a three goal lead in the 55th minute.
O’Brien led Rider with 10 shots.
“The freshmen are learning very fast and we are able to play with a lot of them on the field,” Penas said about the performance of the rookies on Friday night (2 goals, 2 assists). They’re doing a really good job and we count on them. They are playing well.”
Penas finished the scoring with her third goal of the season, converting a penalty corner with senior Alicia Govannicci (Springfield, Pa./Cardinal O’Hara) and Alsina picking up the assists at the 57:49 mark for the final score.
Alsina had three assists in the game.
“Sandra all season long has been the focal point of our offense,” said Hussong. “Even though she hasn’t scored a lot of goals so far this season she is still a main part of getting our offense going and I was happy to finally see her shots were going in. She’s come across some hot goalies the last couple games where her shots have been phenomenal but the goalies were able to make saves. Tonight was Sandra’s night and she did a great job.”
Penas now has 57 goals and 29 assists (143 points), one point behind Bronc Hall of Famer Christina Ang, who holds the Rider career record with 66 goals from 2001-04.
Sophomore Joelle Prettyman (Newark, Del./St. Mark’s) played the first 57:49 and did not face a shot while picking up the win. Freshman Dorothy Von Ahnen (East Windsor/Hightstown) played the final 12:11 for the combined shutout and made three saves.
“It was a good game,” Penas said. “Our defense did a good job not allowing many shots on goal and our offense is getting more confident and we were able to score, so it was great.”
“It’s taken our defense a long time to gel together,” Hussong said. “Last game we put a new defensive system in and it has really helped keep the ball out of our circle. The new system gives us a better chance at success."
Rider out-shot Towson 24-3 and the Broncs held a 13-2 penalty corner advantage.
Megan Boyle made 11 saves for Towson (1-6).
Rider has defeated Towson 12 times in 17 meetings (one tie) since the series began in 1982. The teams last met in 1998 with the Tigers winning.
Tonight was Rider first home game in six contests with 10 of the first 11 games of the season away from Lawrenceville.
“We’ve been on the road the past three weekends,” a weary Hussong said. “To finally have the players come home and be able to play in front of their home crowd is a nice thing for them.”
“It’s always good to play at home,” Penas said. “It’s our turf, we know how to play here and it is where we play the best. It was great to see so many supporters out here tonight.”
Rider improved to 27-1 all-time at Ben Cohen Field, the lighted on-campus turf field which opened in the Fall of 2010.
Rider travels to the campus of James Madison in Harrisonburg, Virginia to take on Appalachian State in a neutral site game on Sunday at 1 p.m.