Nashua, NH, Raider Field – The Rivier University Raiders (4 – 3, 1 – 2 GNAC) defeat the visiting Fitchburg State University Falcons (1 – 4, 0 – 1 MASCAC) 16 – 11 tonight in a non-conference matchup. Leading the way for the Raiders were Rebecca Wickens (Jr, Tyngsboro, MA) 4 goals, 9 shots, and 6 ground balls, Lauren Brett (Sr, Otisfield, ME) 4 goals, 1 assist, and 6 shots, and Jessica Amaral (Jr, E. Providence, RI) 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 shots, and 2 ground balls. Danielle Moran (Fr, San Diego, CA) continued her solid play in goal, making 8 saves to earn the win. Moran was helped in the defensive effort with solid play from Caitlin Gallagher (Sr, Billerica, MA) and Georgia Steese (Sr, Wilmont, NH) in front of her, with both defenders picking up 3 ground balls each in addition to anchoring Rivier's back line.
Elena Reilly (Fr, Braintreee, MA) paced the Raider attack to start the game. Just 1:44 into the contest she was awarded a free opportunity and converted the restart, placing a shot into the top corner that beat Falcons goalkeeper Elizabeth Darrigo (Fr, Billerica, MA). Reilly doubled the Raider lead just 36 seconds later. Jessica Amaral got the ball to Reilly low in the slot and Reilly made a nice spin to work her way to the top of the crease where she took a high shot and put up the Raiders' second tally of the game and a 2 – 0 lead. At the 4:04 mark, Danielle Moran saved a bid from Kristin Dooley (Sr, Salem, MA) for the visitors. Just over 15 seconds later, it was Dooley versus Moran again, this time from a free opportunity on a restart, and again Moran turned back the Falcons attempt to keep the Raiders up by two. Amaral notched her first goal of the night at the 6:09 mark, giving the home team a 3 – 0 lead. Savannah Neuwirt (So, Newbury, NH) worked from behind the net and fed the ball to Amaral at the side of the net were she was able to get off a fast one touch shot for the goal. Lindsey White (So, Hanover, MA) got the visitors on the board with a free opportunity at the 7:01 mark, 3 – 1. Lauren Brett responded for the Raiders at the 9:24 mark. Brett worked from midway in the slot, used a shift in a 1 v 1 versus a defender and drove down to the crease before firing a shot inside the left post, 4 – 1. The visitors pushed back and connected just 9 seconds later. Kayla Bridges (Sr, Foxboro, MA) corralled the ball out of the face off scrum and quickly fed Chelsea Roberts (Jr, Newburyport, MA) streaking towards the Raider goal. Roberts was in all alone on a breakaway and was able to convert the opportunity, 4 – 2.
Rebecca Wickens had a look on a free opportunity but Darrigo made the save for the Falcons. Moran was up to the task at the other end for the Raiders turning back a bid from Roberts after she rolled into the crease on a strong run from the back of the goal at the 11:53 mark. Fitchburg pulled within one, 4 – 3, at the 13:15 mark. White worked the ball to Roberts in the low slot and Roberts made a nice spin move at the top of the crease – shooting as she finished the spin and beating the Raider goalkeeper to tighten up the score. Moran kept the Raiders lead with a big save just 9 seconds later, turning away another breakaway for Roberts with a body save. Brett put the Raiders back up by two, 5 – 3, at the 17:33 mark. Paxton LaRocque (Fr, Londonderry, NH) had the assist. It was a strong transition goal for Rivier, with Wickens passing to Amaral in the offensive zone, who got the ball to LaRocque, and LaRocque worked it to Brett at the top of the slot where she drove by a defender and shot to the far post past the Falcon goalkeeper. 25 seconds later, Amaral added another goal for the home side, 6 – 3. Amaral started with the ball from close to 35 yards from goal and she made a long run with speed into the slot area before firing from about 20 feet to score the goal. Fitchburg responded at the 19:34 mark with Jessica Bartlett (Sr, Marlborough, MA) tallying for the visitors, 6 – 4. Bartlett converted on a free restart opportunity, scoring with a sharp shot. The Raiders responded at the 23:38 mark to push their lead back to three. Amaral reversed the ball in the attacking zone to Neuwirt behind the goal. Neuwirt placed a nice pass into Vanessa Viola (Jr, Nashua, NH) in the crease where she tapped in a quick shot for the strike. Moran made back to back saves at the 24:38 and 25:25 marks. On the first, she turned back a bid from Dooley for the Falcons. The second save was another shot from Roberts on a free opportunity, with Moran making a nice body save. Fitchburg did strike at the 26:30 mark, with Roberts trickling a shot through to bring the visitors within two at the half, 7 – 5.
Moran went to work for the Raiders at the start of the 2nd half, turning back a bid from Roberts with a good look from the crease just 2 minutes in. Bartlett converted for the visitors 4 minutes in, with a nice run from the top of the slot, slipping by two Raider defenders and shooting from the lane, 7 – 6. The Raiders answered at the 6:02 mark, with a nice combination between Wickens and Reilly. Reilly worked a nice pass to Wickens who snapped a quick shot for the tally. The visitors worked within one 27 seconds later, with Bridges making a shifty run from 35 yards out, working her way into the slot and firing a quick shot, 8 – 7. Moran made a nice save for the home team turning back a free opportunity for Bartlett just 11 seconds after the goal from Bridges. Amaral got the Raiders back a two goal cushion, taking a pass from Brett on a nice takeover run across the slot with Brett going to the left and Amaral running to the right before taking the pass and shooting, 9 – 7. The Raiders added to the lead at the 10:51 mark. Amaral fed Wickens high in the slot, and Wickens drove diagonally left to right down the slot before getting her shot off, 10 – 7. Fitchburg responded at the 12:28 mark with Dooley rolling from left to right across the perimeter before driving down the right side of the slot and slipping a defender to get off a low shot that found the back of the net. Rivier matched the visitor's tally with a strike from Amaral. Reilly worked from behind the net and connected a pass to Amaral on a nice run into open space to the goalkeeper's left. Amaral caught and fired in a quick motion, putting the Raiders up 11 – 8. Moran kept the Raiders lead with a good save at the 16:07 mark, turning back a good bid from Dooley. Dooley made a nice run, starting to the left of the Rivier goal and driving left to right along the goal line before shooting from the crease, but Moran made the save. White kept the pressure on for the visitors and converted at the 19:58 mark. White carried from a restart to the left of the Raider goal, got to the crease and was able to shift and create space to get off a shot for the strike, 11 – 9. 12 seconds later Amaral answered for the Raiders. Getting the ball from the face-off scrum, Amaral carried from the half, used her speed, ran down the slot, and fired for the strike, 12 – 9. Fitchburg made the game tight just 32 seconds later, with Leslie Jaffe (Fr, Hicksville, NY) converting a restart with a shot to the top corner, 12 – 10.
The Raiders answered with four straight goals. Wickens scored on a restart at the 11:33 mark. At the 25:22 mark it was Brett with an impressive individual effort. Brett started from behind the goal, drove to the front, and took a high shot from the crease for the score, 14 – 10. Wickens converted again just over 2 minutes later, shooting from the slot on a free restart. With 27 seconds to play, LaRocque converted a free opportunity, 16 – 10. Bartlett closed out the scoring for the night with a goal for the visitors, and the final scoreline, 16 – 11.
With the win, the Raiders improve to 4 – 3 overall. The visiting Falcons fall to 1 – 4 overall. The Raiders return to action this Thursday night with GNAC opponent, Anna Maria, at 7:00 pm in a home contest. Fitchburg State returns to action this Thursday night with a home contest versus Daniel Webster College.