College Field Hockey
Rider University 2, Robert Morris University 0
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ— You never forget your first.
Whether it is your first love, your first car, or your first field hockey milestone.
Rider’s first-ever varsity field hockey game was a victory over Rutgers-Camden in 1979. Rider’s first field hockey Championship was in 1980, the NJAIAW Division II Title. The first field hockey Championship on the Division I level came in 1991, an East Coast Conference Title. The first of many Northeast Conference Championships came in 2000.
And now, in Rider’s first-ever Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference field hockey game, the Broncs defeated Robert Morris Saturday afternoon. “It was nice to get the first conference game under our belt and come out with a win,” said Rider head coach Lori Hussong, who has led Rider to numerous Northeast Conference Titles, either regular season (seven) or post-season Championships (six). “We played tougher today and I was really happy with everybody’s effort.”
Senior Sandra Penas (Barcelona, Spain) had a goal and an assist to lead Rider to victory.
Rider’s all-time leading scorer, Penas passed the ball into the front of the cage, where freshman Kalyn O'Brien (Southampton, NJ/Seneca) stuffed it home for her fifth goal of the season, giving Rider (9-4, 1-0 MAAC) a 1-0 lead in just the 10th minute of play. “K.K. (O’Brien) has come through for us a few times this year,” Hussong said.
“On the first goal I just put the ball in the circle and K.K. was at the right place at the right time and put the ball into the back of the cage,” Penas said of the only goal Rider would need.
The NEC Player of the Year in 2012, Penas picked up a loose ball in the 42nd minute of play and scored her ninth goal of the season and the 63rd of her career. Penas now has 162 points in 73 career games. “Even though Sandra’s goal production has not been as good this year as past years, she really generates our offense,” Hussong said. “She’s having another great year.”
“It was a long hit and I saw the defenders were not ready so I quickly went through them and I reversed it,” Penas said of her ‘backhand’ goal. “I always do that (backhand).”
Rider sophomore goalie Joelle Prettyman (Newark, Del./St. Mark’s) made two saves, one in each half, for her second shutout. “The entire defense played well for us today,” Hussong said. “Robert Morris’ back pressure was tremendous and our kids stood up to it and stayed cool under pressure.”
Rider out-shot Robert Morris (7-5, 0-1 MAAC) 13-4, including 9-2 in shots on goal. “I wouldn’t say we dominated play today,” Hussong said. “Robert Morris is a very physical team and they are very good.”
Rider had eight penalty corners to four for RMU.
The Broncs won an NEC game 5-4 in overtime at Robert Morris last year. The last time the Colonials came to Rider the Broncs won 8-0 in 2011. Rider defeated Robert Morris 5-0 in 2010, 4-0 in 2009, 3-0 in 2008, 1-0 in 2007 and 5-0 in 2006.
Rider has won nine of the 10 games all-time against the Colonials. The only time Robert Morris defeated Rider was in 2005 (1-0). “Their program has improved tremendously,” Hussong said of the Colonials. “Any time you step on the field in conference play anything can happen.”
Rider travels to Bryant for a MAAC game October 18. “That’s going to be another tough game,” Hussong said. “They are having a great year.”
“It’s great that we got our first MAAC win,” Penas said. “I hope we can continue to keep winning and be the first MAAC champions ever.”
A first championship they will never forget.