Northeast Conference Game
LAWRENCEVILLE--Junior Tricia Crotty (Lewistown, Pa./Indian Valley) scored 3:18 into overtime to give Rider a Northeast Conference win over Quinnipiac Sunday. “This was a good way to start the conference play,” said Rider head coach Lori Hussong. “I thought the whole game we played really tough, tougher than we’ve played all season. It was a good game.”
Rider (4-3, 1-0 NEC) took a 1-0 lead with 12 minutes left in the second half on a goal by senior Steph Walker (Lyman, Maine/Massabesic), her third of the season and the 32nd of her career. “Someone (junior Diana Celebre of Lake Grove, N.Y./Sachem High) shot and it was saved and the rebound came out to me,” Walker said.
In overtime, the Bobcats had a chance to win the game when a shot went past Rider senior goalie Jen LoCastro (Cherry Hill, N.J./Camden Catholic) but was saved by junior defender Julie Vaccarelli (Oceanport, N.J./Shore Regional). “Julie made a terrific play on that ball,” Hussong said. ‘She had a great game today.”
“I was playing down low and the girl came in and I just swept it out,” Vaccarelli said..
Quinnipiac (1-6, 0-0 NEC) tied the scored with just 28 seconds left in regulation on a goal by Megan McCreedy off of a penalty corner. “It was disappointing (when Quinnipiac scored), but we knew we couldn’t give up,” Vaccarelli said. “Everyone worked so hard. We all knew how important the conference games are so I think we had a lot more intensity today.”
“When they scored it really fired us up,” Walker said. “We knew when we came out in overtime we were going to win.”
In overtime, teams play seven on seven, opposed to 11 on 11 during regulation, to create more scoring chances. “Crotty’s style of game is made for overtime,” Hussong said. “She is so fast and is tough as nails in pressure situations. She’s mentally tough and able to get the job done for us.”
“I think the seven on seven in overtime suits my style because it gives me more room to just go,” said Crotty, who last spring as a sprinter won a silver and two bronze medals at the MAAC Track & Field Championships. “I like overtime, but I would rather win in regulation. I like the intensity of overtime, and I like the feeling that when you score the game ends and you win.”
Just three minutes into the extra period, Crotty scooped up a loose ball in her own circle and literally went end to end, scoring her team-high fourth goal of the season and the 26th of her career. “I was just trying to get to the cage as fast as I could and get it past the goalie,” Crotty said. “I knew it was a fast break and all I saw was field. I knew that people were behind me so I tried to go to the goal and get a shot off and if it was saved there would be someone there for the rebound.”
There was no rebound.
Crotty enjoys overtime, as most offensive players do. It is different for a defender. “Overtime is nerve-racking,” Vaccarelli said. “There are a lot more fast breaks and it is harder to get organized on defense. Thankfully the overtime wasn’t too long today. The shorter the better.”
The Broncs are 2-0 in 2007 in overtime games having defeated Appalachian State 4-3 four minutes into the extra period on September 8.
Rider out-shot Quinnipiac 13-8. LoCastro made three saves, while Jenna Grossman made nine saves for the Bobcats.
Rider and Quinnipiac were both NEC semi-finalists last season. The two teams have now met 20 times since the series began in 1997, with both teams winning ten. Quinnipiac won 3-1 in Connecticut last year. Rider won 2-0 in 2005 at home. Rider beat Quinnipiac 2-0 in the 2002 NEC Title Game.
“Every game is important because we want to have a good record but we had to show who we are in the conference,” Walker said.
Rider plays at Temple Tuesday evening.