It’s been 11-plus months in the making and finally the anticipation will cease this afternoon at So Sweet a Cat Field.
Garden State rivals Monmouth and Rider will meet for the first time since the 2010 NEC Field Hockey Tournament Championship Game.
The two programs, whose campuses are separated by fewer than 60 miles, have taken turns ending each other’s seasons the last two years. In 2009, then-No. 4 seed Monmouth topped regular season champion Rider in overtime at the NEC Tournament.
Last year, Rider turned the tables. Again the NEC Tournament’s top seed, the Broncs defeated the second-seeded Hawks on a late tally in the conference championship game.
As fate would have it, Rider and Monmouth are the lone two NEC unbeatens in the 2011 title race. With both sides entering with a 4-0 record, the winner of Thursday’s tilt will be in the driver’s seat cruising toward the NEC regular season title. The first-place team in the standings will earn the right to host the four-team 2011 NEC Tournament.
The Hawks will have the home-field advantage on Thursday, but they’ll try to do something no NEC team has managed to do this fall – slow down Rider. The Broncs have dominated play in each of their four NEC wins, outscoring opponents by a 23-1 margin.
The top three point-scorers (points per game average) on the NEC leader board are all Broncs. Rider’s “Ladies of Spain” – two-time Player of the Year Virginia Egusquiza and sophomore Sandra Penas – along with senior Marlaine Schneider, who is enjoying a career year with 11 goals and 13 assists, own the top-three spots.
Monmouth is only +6 in NEC scoring margin, but that hasn’t stopped Carly Figlio’s Hawks from keeping pace in the win column.
The Hawks’ top forward Michelle Pieczynski has 38 points, the second-most amongst all NEC players, but sits fourth in ppg average.
In other news, NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris along with conference staffers Michelle Boone and Kelly Webb attended the Women’s Sports Foundation Dinner in New York City last night. Here’s a photo of the three wonderful women along with Monmouth alumnae, and US Women’s Soccer World Cup team captain, Christie Rampone…
Tweet of the Day
@VeltonJones2 – S/o to the people thats up doin something productive this morning school, work, etc…
Other Top-rated Tweets
@bmac303 – Think positivity
@LarryFitzgerald – New day, same focus. Get better. #FaithFocusFinish
@VeltonJones2 – Who’s ready for tonight at #RMU? Will be a great time come out and have fun with us! #RMCMB
Articles of Interest
Suddenly Favored Blackbirds Begin Quest for NEC Title Repeat –Brooklyn Eagle (John Torenli)
Central Connecticut Men’s Soccer Hitting Its Stride – Hartford Courant (Mike Anthony)
LIU Honors Lee With Plaque, Plant For Life – Berlin Patch
As Season Progressed, Central Men’s Soccer Improved – Hartford Courant (Mike Anthony)
EWU’s Matt Johnson career over from injury – Sports Network
Retiring Fighting Sioux will cost UND – ESPN.com (AP)
Big East Conference: Pitt can’t leave early – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
FCS awards enjoying fantastic races – Sports Network (Craig Haley)
Sacred Heart Volleyball participates in instructional video…
An inside look at Fairleigh Dickinson women’s basketball as pratice begins…