Broncs miss playoffs for first time in 23 years

By Kadie Digiuseppe

RIDER field hockey split its two games over the weekend, winning 2-1 over Long Island University on Oct. 27, then losing 2-0 to Hofstra on Oct. 29. With the win and loss, the Broncs’ season has come to an end, missing out on the playoffs for the first time in 23 years.

Last home game win

At Ben Cohen field on a beautiful autumn night, the Broncs faced the LIU Sharks for their last home game of the 2023 season. 

Rider allowed the Sharks only one goal halfway through the first quarter, controlling the ball for most of the frame. 

After the single goal, Rider forced a corner to start the second quarter, which resulted in a junior forward Lyric Scott goal after a deflection off of the LIU goalkeeper, tying the score 1-1. 

The Broncs kept that energy when top goal scorer, sophomore forward Valeria Perales got a great pass from sophomore forward Semra Said, and sent in Rider’s second goal with a shot from her knees.

“At the beginning of the season, we were a little unsure about when to press and when not. I think throughout [the season] we made better decisions on when to cut the ball, when to seal it, when to go and when to hold back,” stated Said.

LIU had a couple chances during the second half of the game but Rider’s defense was on lockdown, particularly sophomore defender Megan Normile. 

Said added, “We played great today. Our press was great and I think we deserved the win.” 

When senior goalkeeper Carlee Fulton was asked how she felt about her final home game as a senior, she described it as bittersweet. 

“I love that we won. Everyone hustled and put their heart out on the field. It was so nice to win on this field one last time,” Fulton added. 

Head Coach Alicia Govannicci reflected on the success of her team and how they took her critiques into account and applied it to their gameplay. 

“I’m most proud of the heart and the hustle that they put out there today on the field. That’s something that we talked a lot about this week that we’ve been missing in some games,” she said. “We came back from behind and we got the job done. For that, I’m very proud of them,” Govannici said.

Rider finished the game with five shots, three shots on goal, five corners.

Broncs lose final game

The Broncs traveled to Hempstead, New York, on Oct. 29 to play their last game of the regular season at Hofstra. 

Rider started off the game with a corner, but freshman forward Willemijn Ephraim’s shot sailed wide. 

Hofstra’s offense picked up in the second quarter as they scored the first goal of the game on a give-and-go with six minutes left in the first half, giving Hofstra a 1-0 lead at halftime.

During the second half, senior midfielder Kiera Guckavan tried to get something going for the Broncs by giving Rider a corner in the third quarter, but nothing came of it.

“We’ve made a lot of improvements throughout the season. We started out pretty slow and we finally found a formation where we clicked,” said Govannicci.

Rider ends its season with a record of 7-11 in Giovannicci’s first season at the helm, and did not qualify for the playoffs.

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