By Kadie Digiuseppe
RIDER field hockey split its two conference home games, losing 2-1 to St. Francis on Oct. 6, then beating Stonehill 2-0 during Senior Day on Oct. 8.
After two straight wins last week, the Broncs faced one of their toughest divisional opponents, St. Francis.
In the blink of an eye, freshman forward Emma Bonshak scored Rider’s first and only goal of the game, her second of the season.
After that early strike, St. Francis was held scoreless during the first half due to the double teams Rider laid on St. Francis.
St. Francis continued to put up a fight and by the second half, the Broncs ended up conceding two goals.
With both teams taking almost 10 corners and five shots on goal, the game was intense and competitive throughout.
Rider’s shots were taken by freshman midfielder Ang Borisow, sophomore forward Valeria Perales, freshman forward Willemijn Ephraim and sophomore forward Semra Said.
Additionally, Rider senior goalkeeper Carlee Fulton had three saves in the game.
The Broncs took offensive control during the fourth quarter with many attempts to score the tying goal, but ultimately they couldn’t get the ball past the St. Francis goalkeeper.
“I was proud of our team”
Coming off the tough loss to St. Francis two days earlier, Rider was hungry for a win on its Senior Day.
In the first half, the Broncs dominated on offense, getting corners and taking shot after shot at Stonehill’s goalkeeper, but unfortunately couldn’t break through the defense.
On the Broncs’ second corner of the following half, senior midfielder Kiera Guckavan scored with the assist from Ephraim, making the score 1-0 in favor of the Broncs at the end of the third quarter.
Guckavan said, “It felt great to be able to score. I’m really happy I was able to contribute to the win. I am also grateful for all the love and support we got on Senior Day from our coaches, teammates and fans.”
Stonehill battled back during the rest of the second half, making it harder for the Broncs to score again.
With two minutes left in the game and no goalkeeper for the Skyhawks, Ephraim scored off a corner to make the score 2-0.
Fulton had three more saves in the game, bringing her total saves this season to 41, fifth most in the Northeast Conference as of Oct. 10.
“I was so proud of our team because we kept fighting to win a goal and didn’t stop even when we did score. I could tell they were playing for each other rather than playing for ourselves,” said Fulton of the Broncs’ success. “I think this team is only getting better everyday.”
Graduate student forward Carli Ciocco thinks that every Bronc played well as a team.
“Our in and out passing created a lot of momentum for us and it was great to come out, get the win and get as many scoring opportunities as we did,” said Ciocco. “Now it’s just about capitalizing on those opportunities and scoring more goals.”
Rider now moves to 5-7 on the season and has won two out of its last three. The Broncs will host Sacred Heart on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.
Head Coach Alicia Govannicci said the focus of the game will be “to move the ball quickly, capitalize on our opportunities and play strong defense.”
The game will be streamed on ESPN+.