College Field Hockey
#4 Robert Morris University 1, #1 Rider University 0
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Semifinals
LAWRENCEVILLE—The Rider University field hockey season came to a premature end as the Broncs were upset in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference semifinals by Robert Morris 1-0 on Friday evening.
Rider entered the tournament as the top seed (5-1 MAAC) and the Broncs finish the 2013 season with a 13-7 record.
Robert Morris (11-7) got the only goal of the game when Julianne Alspaugh hit a high shot that was deflected into the cage by Jess Martin-Brown at 28:22.
“Robert Morris came out hungry and ready to fight,” said head coach Lori Hussong who completed her 14th season at Rider. “We were a little tentative when we came out and they (RMU) just kept getting stronger. It was a very physical game. Bottom line, you need to score to win the game and we weren’t as aggressive in the circle when we needed to be.”
Rider sophomore goalie Joelle Prettyman (Newark, Del./St. Mark’s) made 14 saves as the Broncs were out-shot 22-18.
“Joelle has played really well all season long,” Hussong said. “She kept us in the game tonight.”
Rider held a 12-7 advantage in penalty corners.
Erin McKenzie made seven saves for the Colonials who advance to the inaugural MAAC championship game against second seed Quinnipiac University. The Bobcats defeated third seed Bryant University 5-0 in the first semifinal.
This is only the third time that Rider has lost at home since Ben Cohen Field opened in the fall of 2010.
This is only the second win in 11 tries for Robert Morris over Rider.
Rider defeated Robert Morris on October 13 by a 2-0 score, also in Lawrenceville, in the first MAAC field hockey game of the season.
This was the final game in the stellar career of Bronc senior Sandra Penas (Barcelona, Spain) who graduates as Rider’s all-time leading scorer with 164 points (63g, 38a). Penas had nine goals and 13 assists this season and was named the MAAC Co-Player of the Year.
Prettyman and Penas were named to the MAAC All-Tournament team.
“Tonight is not reflective of how good our season was,” Hussong said. “We had nine freshmen on the roster and worked all season to mold the team together and to get the regular season conference title and make it to the semifinals is still a very good effort.”
Rider has made the four-team conference playoffs all 14 season under Hussong and this is only the third time that the Broncs won’t play in the conference title game.
The Broncs return 18 letterwinners for the 2014 season.