Offense comes alive as women’s lacrosse rips off four straight wins

Rowan has tallied more than 10 goals in each of the last five games

Freshman Maddie Bray runs with the ball earlier this season against Stevens Institute of Technology. In the team’s most recent win against Haverford College, a 12-7 victory, she had one ground ball and two draw controls. The team has scored 10 or more goals in the past five games. -File photo

Florida is a popular destination for college kids to spend spring break. However, for the Rowan women’s lacrosse team, a trip to Clermont, Florida, was strictly business.

Prior to their two games in the Sunshine State, the Profs were 2-2 overall, coming off an 18-5 road victory over Eastern University.

After going .500 in Florida in 2015, the Profs won both of their games this year, defeating Western New England University and SUNY Fredonia.

“I thought we came back strong. I thought we did good against Western New England, pushing the ball and trying to settle it and go through our plays,” junior attack Rachel Hofbauer said. “Against Fredonia it was back and forth. Both games were good, intense lacrosse games.”

That intensity did not seem to faze Hofbauer, who tallied a total of 10 goals over the two games. The junior’s scoring output earned her the New Jersey Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Arguably the most important of Hofbauer’s team-leading 20 goals to this point, however, was the one that broke a tie against SUNY Fredonia with only six seconds left in the game.

“It felt pretty good, but it all happened so fast,” Hofbauer said. “There was a goal crease violation and Maddie Bray got the ball. I was wide open in front of the cage. It was all so fast.”

The Profs are now riding a four-game winning streak, with their last loss coming to then No. 17-ranked Catholic University on March 9.

Head coach Lindsay Delaney said that although the team did face some challenges and were caught on their heels against Catholic, the offense finally started clicking.

Following that loss, the Rowan offense has not cooled off. The team has posted a +25 goal differential, outscoring their opponents 5631.

“The units have formed into units. It’s not individual play. They realize that they need each other in order to be successful,” Delaney said. “They can make mistakes because someone is there to back them up. Before we tried to play perfect lacrosse and there’s no such thing. They realize that now.”

One of the reasons for this harmony could be the fact that starting goalkeeper sophomore Erin Horner returned in net for the brown and gold after missing the first three games with an injury.

“[Erin] missed some games and Emma [Frost] played well, but she’s a freshman and needs to learn a lot,” Hofbauer said. “Having Erin back there calms us down and eases us. Our four defenders are from last year, too, so when they get the ball on defense, we have faith in them.”

Delaney stressed that every game brings a new challenge, and that playing teams like Eastern, Western New England and Fredonia helps them figure out their style of play.

“The way the schedule has worked out, every game has presented a more difficult or different challenge,” Delaney said. “I think we’re more prepared now.”

On Wednesday, the Profs rode an eight-goal first half to a 12-7 home victory over Haverford College. Five players tallied a goal, with three players recording hat tricks in the team’s fourth straight win.

“We’re growing as a team, we’re learning to work together. We just getting used to each other. It’s just great that our team is so deep with players,” Horner said. “We have so many subs. We’re getting very cohesive as a team.”

The brown and gold had control in all facets of the game, registering more goals, shots, ground balls and draw controls. Rowan also converted on three of their six free-position shots, compared to Haverford who went 0-4.

It also marked the team’s second victory over a four-win program in just over a week—the other coming over Western New England, 15-9.

Rowan will take to the road on Saturday to face Washington College (4-3 overall) before then seeing an 11-day break in game action.

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