Villanova Field Hockey Falls to Defending NEC Champs at Rider
Aug. 31, 2012
LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. - Determined to clinch their third straight win of the season, the Wildcats (2-1) came up short in the 2-0 loss to the Rider Broncs (1-1) on Friday afternoon. Coming into the contest, Villanova was up against an undefeated at home (over two seasons) Broncs squad who added another victory to their 18-0 record at Ben Cohen Field.
Villanova's offensive intensity seemed to be lacking in the first half as the Broncs controlled the ball throughout most of the period. Rider outshot the Wildcats 17-5 during the contest, 11-2 in the first period alone. Alex Diekmannblocked a number of Rider corner shots blasted towards the cage by 2011 NEC Offensive Player of the Year Sandra Penas, who got nine shots off through both halves.
The Wildcat defense worked hard to clear the ball from the circle, but the Broncs broke through during the 24th minute when Alicia Govannicci scored her first goal of the season off a pass from in front from Stacey Dileo. The goal would be the only offensive action in the first half as Villanova continued to make defensive saves; they would finish with 10 saves on the game.
Villanova's offensive luck did not change during the second period of play as they would only have a handful of penalty corner opportunities. Jessica Swobodablasted the Wildcats' sole shot on to the pads of Rider goalie Joelle Pettman who only had one save during the afternoon match. Rider regained control of the ball and dominated past the 50-yard line for most of the second half. The Broncs pushed the Wildcat defense, but Diekmann blocked their attempts ending the game with a season-high 10 saves.
With time running down, Villanova found themselves defending another series of Rider corner penalties. In the 67th minute, Allison Muschs put the ball past Diekmann on a penalty stroke to give the Broncs the final tally over the Wildcats.
The Wildcats made one last stride towards their offensive circle, but unfortunately, the attempt wouldn't be enough as the final horn sounded and the Broncs came away with the 2-0 victory. Rider and Villanova now split the all-time record at 7-7.
Villanova hopes to turn it around in time to defend their own home turf when they face La Salle on Wednesday, September 5th at 4 p.m. The game between the local-rivals will mark the first home-contest of the season at Villanova Stadium.