Monday, Nov 7, 2022
Broncs defeat Fairfield 2-1 in overtime
by Rider Sports Information
The Rider University field hockey team claimed its eighth Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship in program history on Nov. 6. The Broncs defeated Fairfield 2-1 in overtime with freshman Valeria Perales' game-winning goal.
Senior Kaitlyn Tomas was named the NEC Tournament MVP after allowing just one goal across the pair of tournament games. Perales, sophomore Lyric Scott and freshman Indy Zoontjens joined Tomas on the NEC All-Tournament Team.
"I think our team played with a lot of heart," says Head Coach Lori Hussong. "That's been the motto of our season this year. I think we've worked tremendously hard to get to where we are today. I'm just so proud of every single one of them on the team. It's a great feeling for them."
With the win, the Broncs claim the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament and will enter the tournament with a 15-5 record. They will face Miami University (OH) on Nov. 9 at Northwestern University. The winner will face the No. 2 overall seeded Wildcats on Nov. 11.
I think we've worked tremendously hard to get to where we are today."
Fairfield opened the scoring just over four minutes into the game. Rider countered less than a minute later on a corner of its own. The Broncs inserted freshman Semra Said, who made a pass to Zoontjens. Zoontjens fired a shot that was deflected by a Fairfield defender into the cage to even the game at 1-1.
Fairfield's best scoring opportunity in regulation came just before the end of the first half. The Stags got a corner with under 30 seconds remaining in the half, but Tomas made a save before the defense cleared the line to end the half.
A pair of corners early in the third for Fairfield resulted in two more shots that Tomas stoned to keep the game even. In the fourth, the Broncs had their best shot in regulation with a pair of corners, but both shots were kept out of the net.
The Broncs were in control for the entirety of overtime. An early corner opportunity saw the initial Rider shot by senior Sierra Giuliano saved before she ripped the rebound shot off the crossbar. Rider did not have to wait long for their next opportunity as less than a minute later senior Maeve Riehman passed down the right side to Scott. Scott deked around the first defender in the circle, then delivered a perfect centering pass that Perales one-timed home to give the Broncs the title.