College Field Hockey
Rider University 4, Monmouth University 1
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Game
Rider Wins MAAC Regular Season Title
WEST LONG BRANCH—One for the thumb.
For the fifth year in a row, the Rider University field hockey team can call itself conference champions as the Broncs defeated Monmouth University 4-1 on Friday afternoon at So Sweet a Cat Field in West Long Branch to claim the inaugural Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season title.
“If you looked at the team three weeks ago, it wasn’t the team you saw today,” said head coach Lori Hussong. “We worked so hard this season and came together as a team at the right time. This is a proud moment for Rider University and the field hockey program.”
Rider (13-5, 5-1 MAAC) had won four straight Northeast Conference regular season championships before joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference for field hockey this season.
For the Broncs, junior Laura McCormick (West Windsor/West Windsor Plainsboro HS South) came off the bench with a goal and an assist to spark the offense.
“We played really well,” McCormick said. “We came together and played as a team. It was a great effort.”
Rider opened the scoring just 10:10 into the game when sophomore Rachel Ippolite (Woolwich Twp./Kingsway) scored her second of the season, converting a pass from freshman Carlota Alsina (Barcelona, Spain) after a penalty corner.
Monmouth tied the game 1-1 in the 28th minute before the Broncs responded just 21 seconds later with freshman Kalyn O'Brien (Southampton/Seneca) rebounding her own shot, scoring her ninth goal of the season, 7:10 before the half.
Alsina fed a pass to McCormick on a penalty corner, 3:01 before halftime to give Rider a 3-1 lead. For McCormick, it was her first goal of the season.
“We did what we had to do and I happened to be in the right spot at the right time,” McCormick added.
Freshman Nicole Hareau (Montevideo, Uruguay) used a McCormick deflection to score her conference leading 15th goal of the season as Rider converted a penalty corner with 0:00 on the clock and the Broncs led by three at the break.
“Having different players step up for us in key situations has been the story of our season,” said Hussong about having four different goal scorers today. “It’s nice to know that you have 10 players out on the field that can score at any moment.”
Despite out-shooting Rider 6-3 in the second half, Monmouth could not get anything by Joelle Prettyman (Newark, Del./St. Mark’s) with the sophomore goalie making four saves in the game, all in the final 35 minutes.
“Scoring four goals in the opening half really took the pressure off our defense,” Hussong said. “Monmouth is a very strong team and they had some great scoring opportunities that Joelle and the defense held strong against.”
Rider out-shot the Hawks 14-9 and the Broncs held an 11-7 penalty corner advantage.
Rider and Monmouth have now played 34 times with the Broncs holding a 24-7-3 advantage in the series that began in 1977. Rider and Monmouth last met in the 2012 NEC championship game with the Broncs winning 3-2.
The four-team MAAC Championship tournament will be at Rider’s Ben Cohen Field November 8-9 with the number one seed, Rider, playing the second semifinal at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 8. The first semifinal, with the teams to be determined will be 3 p.m., also on Friday. The MAAC championship game will be Saturday, November 9 at 3 p.m.
“We couldn’t be more excited to host the tournament," McCormick said. “We are trying to get the seniors to the NCAA Play-In one more time,”
"The players are excited to host the tournament," Hussong added.
The winner of the MAAC championship will play on Wednesday, November 13 in the NCAA Play-In game. Rider has participated in the last three NCAA Play-In games in a row, at the University at Albany in 2010, at Princeton in 2011 and at the University of Massachusetts in 2012.
The Broncs have won the 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 NEC regular season titles and now the 2013 MAAC regular season title.
Rider's has six conference championships (2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2011 and 2012) and the Broncs have appeared in 11 of the last 13 conference championship games.
The Broncs travel to Princeton University on Sunday for a non-conference game at 1 p.m., to complete the regular season schedule.