FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Playing in her final career game at Campus Field, Liz Bergman scored two first-half goals to power the Sacred Heart University field hockey team past Rider, 2-1, in a MAAC game on Sunday afternoon. The game-winner was Bergman's second in the past three days, as the Pioneers move into first place in the MAAC with a 3-1 record and clinch a spot in the conference tournament that will begin on Friday, November 7.
The Pioneers (9-7, 3-1 MAAC) capitalized on the first opportunity of the game as they earned successive penalty corners in the sixth minute. Bergman would send the second one into the back of the net, as Christine Mace sent it into Sarah Bergman, also playing in her final career match at Campus Field, who laid it off to Liz to make the score 1-0. The goal was Bergman's fourth of the season, while Mace's assist put her in a tie for the team lead with four.
Just over four minutes later Rider capitalized on their first opportunity of the game after Shannon Hughes' deflection on net was denied by Mary Altepeter. Moments later, the Broncs were awarded a penalty stroke. Dezarae Fillmyer stepped up and beat Altepeter for her sixth goal of the season to tie the score at 1-1.
Joelle Prettyman kept the score at 1-1 as she saved consecutive Bergman shots off of penalty corners in the 20th minute. Two minutes later she made a diving save as Kylee Lowndes, the third senior honored before the game, dove to the turf to put an effort on net. Altepeter would make what turned out to be her final save of the game in the 27th minute on a Melissa Cunningham attempt.
Bergman's second goal of the day came as halftime approached. With three minutes remaining in the period she initially had a shot blocked in the middle of the circle. The ball came back to her and after regaining control, she was able to fire another shot that found the back of the net to give the Pioneers a 2-1 lead. The goal put Bergman in a tie for the team-lead in both goals and points, as she now has five goals and 14 points on the year.
SHU would continue to put pressure on Prettyman right out of the halftime break as Danielle Gallagher forced a save just 47 seconds into the period. She then denied Nichole Tolli and Gallagher on consecutive shots in the 45th minute. Two minutes later she was forced to save successive shots once again, as this time Rachel Claroni and Mace were denied after a penalty corner.
Rider was not able to put a shot on net in the second period but perhaps had their best opportunity denied by Nichole Dobachesky in the 54th minute, as she was able to knock the ball away from Kesheal Henderson who looked to have a clear path to net. The Broncs also had a Carlie Spaeder shot deflect just wide after a timeout in the 66th minute.
The Pioneers outshot the Broncs 18-5 for the game, including 9-2 in the second period. Prettyman was forced to make nine saves in the defeat. Sacred Heart also had an 11-5 edge in penalty corners, including a 7-0 advantage in the first half.
Sacred Heart will play its final regular season match next Friday as they travel to Hamden, Conn. for a 3 pm MAAC contest against defending champion Quinnipiac.