Nashua, NH, Raider Field – The Rivier University Raiders (3-1, 1-1 GNAC) fell to the visiting Simmons College Sharks (4-1, 3-0 GNAC) 13 – 7 today in a GNAC matchup. The teams were tied at 3 going into the half before the Sharks pushed ahead in the 2nd stanza. The raiders were led by Elena Reilly (Fr, Braintreee, MA) 3 goals, 1 assist, and 8 ground balls, Rebecca Wickens (Jr, Tyngsboro, MA) 3 goals and 7 ground balls, and Lauren Brett (Sr, Otisfield, ME) 1 goal, 1 assist, and 2 ground balls. Danielle Moran (Fr, San Diego, CA) went the distance in goal, making 21 saves on the afternoon.
The Raiders got off to a good start, jumping ahead to a 2 – 0 lead just over 11 minutes into the game on a pair of goals from Wickens with both assists coming from Savannah Neuwirt (So, Newbury, NH). Wickens second goal was a nice shot from high in the slot that beat Crystal Derosier (So, Kingston, MA) in goal for Simmons. The Sharks responded with a pair of quick strikes from Stephanie Oliveri (So, Waltham, MA) and Ali Stonehouse (So, Keene, NH) just 6 seconds apart at the 12:08 mark and 12:14 mark respectively. Oliveri did a nice job of picking up a ground ball and bouncing a low shot on goal that beat Moran. Moran turned in a nice save at the 13:38 mark, turning aside a bid from Greer Gilbert (Fr, Falmouth, MA). Rivier nudged ahead on a strike from Reilly at the 12:01 mark 3 – 2. Moran pulled out a nice save for the Raiders at the 28:36 mark on a shot from Stonehouse. Simmons continued to press and would answer just 52 seconds away from the halftime break to tie the score at 3 with a strike from Gilbert. Moran had to come up with another save with 12 ticks left on the clock, denying Rachel Wallace (Sr, Braintree, MA) to keep the score knotted.
Simmons jumped back on the scoreboard 2:53 into the 2nd half on an unassisted strike from Oliveri. The Raiders answered twenty five seconds later on a tally from Wickens assisted by Reilly and tied the score at four apiece. Eighty seconds later, at the 4:38 mark, Simmons pulled ahead 5 – 4 with another strike from Oliveri. This time she hooked from the back left of the goal, slipped into the slot and fired a strike. At the 5:10 mark Simmons struck again on a nice goal from Leanne Luke (Jr, Newton, MA). Oliveri, working from out left of the slot fed Luke who used a nice spin to break down the Raider defense and release a low shot that beat Moran and pushed the visitors in front 6 – 4. Greer put the Sharks ahead 7 – 4 when she rolled right to left from high in the slot down to the crease and placed a nice shot in the net. With the visitors threatening to begin to pull away, Wallace had a free opportunity at the 7:43 mark, but Moran came up with a big save to keep the Raiders within 3. The Raiders came up with a nice opportunity, Reilly carried left to right high in the slot and let go a sharp shot, but Derosier made a good save. Caitlin Gallagher (Sr, Billerica, MA) made a nice play at the 8:45 mark, using a quick stick to snare a pass that broke up a 3 on 2 break for the Sharks. Brett came up with a great goal at the 9:51 mark, carrying the ball over midfield, using her speed to get behind the Simmons goal, before she drove out the other side of the goal and got of a quick shot right into the top corner as she curled in front. The strike pulled the Raiders within two at 7 – 5. The Raiders defense came up with another big play at the 11:48 mark, blocking a good shot from Callie Warnock (Jr, Kingston, NH).
Simmons used a four goal run to pull away. At the 13:45 mark, Greer made a fast drive down the slot and fired a low shot inside the left post. Almost two minutes later, Oliveri, working on the side of the cage to Moran's right, put a high pass into Wallace at the top of the crease and she snapped a quick shot that Moran made a nice body save on to keep the visitors at bay. The Sharks kept the pressure up, and at the 16:24 mark Wallace converted an unopposed opportunity bouncing a goal home for a 10 – 5 lead. Rivier pushed to close the gap with a nice passing play on their next run up field. Brett made a nice individual run and worked from behind the Sharks goal. She delivered a nice pass to Georgia Steese (Sr, Wilmont, NH) at the top of the crease but the Simmons goalkeeper made the save on Steese's attempt. Brett had a nice individual effort less than a minute later, firing a hard shot after a nice stick shift to her left shoulder to get a shooting angle, but Derosier handled the bouncing shot in her body. Forty seconds later, at the 11:39 mark, Simmons pushed ahead 11 – 5 on a good goal from Chelsea Keefe (So, Averill Park, NY). Keefe powered through the crease and picked the top right corner in stride. Gallagher made another good defensive play for the home side with a nice block on a dangerous shot from Wallace in the slot. The Raiders kept pressing with Reilly testing the Simmons goalkeeper after making a good curling run from behind the net, using a quick spin move at the top of the crease to separate from a Sharks defender and get away a shot that Derosier matched with a good save. At the 20:49 and 21:06 marks, there were a couple of different plays that unfolded, rarely seen in sporting events with goalkeepers. The Raiders Reilly had an unopposed look at goal without a goalkeeper. Symonne Fontenot (So, Portsmouth, NH) made a smart play for the visitors, getting a stick check on Reilly and forcing another unopposed restart. Only problem was, that the visitors were still not allowed to have a goalkeeper in the net. Reilly took advantage of the second look and bounced home a goal, bringing the Raiders within five at 11 – 6. The Raiders looked to cut into the lead again just 25 seconds later on a nice passing combination with Brett feeding Wickens in the slot for an open look, but her hard, low shot bounced just wide of the lower left corner. The Raider defense came up with another tough play, deflecting a shot from Stonehouse at the top of the crease and sending the attempt away. Wallace would put the visitors ahead 12 – 6 at the 22:15 mark with a curling run from the left side of the goal to the front before she converted her shot. The Raiders pulled within five, 12 – 7, on another connection between Brett and Reilly. Brett made a nice high catch in stride, drove down the high slot with speed, and flicked a nice pass to Reilly on the left side of the goal. Reilly picked up the pass and cut into the crease to fire a nice shot past Derosier into the net. The Sharks added their final tally of the day at the 25:22 mark. Wallace fed Ashley Sheehan (Fr, N. Attleboro, MA) at the top of the slot and she made a quick run down the slot before bouncing a low shot home for the tally, 13 – 7.
With the loss, the Raiders fall to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the GNAC. Simmons improves to 4-1 overall and 3-0 in the GNAC. The Raiders return to action tomorrow at Worcester State at 1:00 pm in an out of conference match-up. Simmons returns to action with another GNAC opponent, hosting Emanuel on Wednesday the 27th at 7:00 pm.