NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Ted Krueger, GHS Alumni, Korean War Veteran, and NJ Bell Employee; Services at Brooklawn United Methodist Church
Need Your Help with October’s Cheers & Jeers

College Field Hockey: Rider 3 Sacred Heart 1

October 21, 2007

Northeast Conference Game

FAIRFIELD, Conn.—Youth was served early and a veteran wrapped it up. The Broncs clinched the number two seed in the upcoming playoffs with a 3-1 Northeast Conference road win at Sacred Heart Sunday afternoon, on the strength of a solid scoring effort from the 2007 freshmen class. “The freshmen have been great all year,” said head coach Lori Hussong. “Immediately after we inserted Allison Vogel and Michaela Franey into the game, they both scored and that was a huge lift for us, especially on the road in a conference game.”

Rider (9-8, 6-1 NEC) opened the scoring with freshman Allison Vogel (Oceanport, N.J./Shore Regional) hitting the back of the cage 11 minutes in and the Broncs scored again off a penalty corner one minute later when rookie Michaela Franey (York, Maine/York) scored off an assist from freshman Margaret Ecke (New Egypt).

“We just went out and played strong and hard,” said Franey who notched her second goal of the season. “On my goal, the ball came from Ecke at the insert and I just took a shot at the top of the circle and it went in the far right post.”

“We really pulled together,” Vogel said. “Everyone hustled and fought and it was a good win. On my goal, Franey actually brought the ball into the circle and a defender hit it and I just picked it up off the defender and shot it into the far corner. Scoring early really gave us the momentum and from there we played really hard and really well together.”

The Broncs led 2-0 at the half. “It’s always important for us to get a lead early,” Hussong said. “We haven’t scored as many second half goals this season so we need to score early to have a chance to be successful and win the game.”

Rider has scored 16 first-half goals while being held to nine in the second half this season.

After the Pioneers cut the lead to 2-1 with 25 minutes remaining, Bronc junior Tricia Crotty (Lewistown, Pa./Indian Valley) closed the scoring with 17 minutes left, notching her team-leading seventh goal of the season. Junior Diana Celebre (Lake Grove, N.Y./Sachem) and sophomore Erin McGinniss added the assists.

Crotty’s 29 career goals are eighth best all-time at Rider.

Rider senior goalie Jen LoCastro (Cherry Hill/Camden Catholic) made six saves as Sacred Heart out-shot Rider 15-11 and held an 8-5 penalty corner advantage.

“J-Lo had another nice game,” said Hussong. “Our defense also had a solid game and cleared the ball out of the circle better than we have been. That created more scoring opportunities for us.”

The Broncs have won two straight and three of their last four games and snapped the Pioneers four-game winning streak. Rider leads the overall series against Sacred Heart 11-6.

The NEC pairings will be announced by the conference office next week with the tournament hosted by regular season champion Lock Haven November 2-3.

“Our goal going into today was to lock up the second seed,” said Hussong. “Since we have to play at Lock Haven for the tournament, we didn’t want to face them in the semi-finals if at all possible. We can play with any team in the tournament and the conference this season was very tough. No matter who we face, it will be a close, competitive game.”

Lock Haven eliminated Rider 2-1 in the conference semi-finals in 2006, also at Lock Haven.

“We are improving each day,” said Franey. “We are playing with ‘Rider pride’ and I think we are back on track and ready for the playoffs.”

The Broncs conclude the regular season schedule at home vs. former NEC rival Fairfield on Thursday.