College Field Hockey
#9 Princeton University 2, Rider University 1 (ot)
PRINCETON—In the final non-conference game of the 2013 regular season, the Rider University field hockey team took the defending national champion Princeton University Tigers to the limit, before losing 2-1 in overtime on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m really proud of the effort,” said head coach Lori Hussong. “They are more skilled but we played with so much heart and that’s all you can ask.”
Princeton won the game when Michelle Cesan converted a shot from just inside the left post, 5:31 into the first overtime period.
Princeton (12-4) entered the game ranked ninth in the NFHCA Poll.
Trailing 1-0, Rider (13-6) tied the game with 14 seconds left in regulation when junior Rachel Schwab (Pottstown, Pa./Owen J. Roberts) converted a pass from freshman Carlota Alsina (Barcelona, Spain) on a penalty corner for her second goal of the season.
“Our players never give up,” Hussong said. “Today was a great example of that, tying the game at the end of regulation. It was a well executed corner, Carlota with a great pass out and Rachel just stepped up and blasted it in.”
Alsina has 10 assists for the Broncs this season.
The Tigers dominated play, out-shooting Rider 39-6 and Princeton held a 12-3 penalty corner advantage but the game remained scoreless until 15:41 remaining in the second period when Cat Caro scored on a deflection past Bronc goalie, sophomore Joelle Prettyman (Newark, Del./St. Mark’s).
Prettyman was stellar in net for Rider, making 17 saves.
“It was a great defensive day for us,” Hussong said. “And Joelle, she played outstanding.”
“I knew it would be a tough game going in,” Prettyman said. “I knew we could handle it and I just stayed focused and did what I had to do. I was really excited when Rachel tied the game, it was an awesome goal.”
Princeton improved to 10-1 (one tie) all-time against Rider.
Princeton and Rider last met in the 2011 NCAA Play-In game which went into double overtime, before Princeton prevailed 1-0.
Rider, the co-champion of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, will host the four-team MAAC championship on November 8-9 at Ben Cohen Field.
“Today was a fun game for us,” Hussong said. “The game showed where we are and where we need to be to continue and improve our program. We competed really well and hung in there today. The team has spirit and fight. We have a lot of heart and we played like that today.”
In the opening MAAC semifinal on November 8, #3 Bryant University will face #2 Quinnipiac University at 3 p.m. In the second semifinal, top seed Rider will host #4 seed Robert Morris University at 6 p.m.
Rider defeated Robert Morris 2-0 on October 13 at Ben Cohen Field.
“It’s tournament time,” Hussong said. “We know each game is going to be tough and we are going to do the best we can.”
Rider has qualified for the four-team conference playoffs in all 14 seasons under Hussong.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” Prettyman added. “We are excited to be back in the conference tournament.”
The MAAC Championship game is November 9 at 3 p.m., with the winner advancing to the NCAA Play-In game on Wednesday, November 13 against an opponent to be determined.
The Broncs have won eight conference championships under Hussong (NEC-2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) and MAAC (2013).
Rider's has six conference championships (NEC-2000, 2002, 2004, 2010, 2011, 2012) under Hussong and the Broncs have appeared in 11 of the last 13 conference championship games.