Despite a small setback against Stockton University with a double overtime tie on Sept. 28, the No. 3 ranked Rowan men’s soccer team came away from their first week of New Jersey Athletic Conference play unscathed. Still, head coach Scott Baker was bittersweet with the result.
“When we played Stockton it was a tougher environment with the rain and the grass field,” Baker said. “We had 17 corner kicks to one and dominated the game.”
Three days later, the Profs hosted Kean University and overpowered the Cougars en route to a 3-0 victory. Goals were scored by sophomore defender Brian Dziobak, junior forward Travis Ward and sophomore forward Shane Doherty.
Doherty has shown a knack for finding the back of the net throughout his young career at Rowan, with 17 goals so far to his name through 32 games.
“My teammates are always finding me in the right spaces at the right times,” Doherty said.
The brown and gold are off to their best start through 11 games since 2002, and the possibility of an undefeated season looks more obtainable as the season progresses.
For freshman midfielder Pete Hall, the recipe for success is not too complicated.
“We’re undefeated and we play good because we have good brotherhood and
chemistry,” Hall said. “We love each other.”
The good play has come from all age groups. Freshmen Ryan Logar and Hall both have goals on the year. Ward and Doherty are tied for the team lead with seven goals. Sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Dennis has been solid in the net all season long, allowing just .53 goals per game with a NJAC-best .902 save percentage.
With more big matchups against NJAC opponents coming up, it would be easy for the players to look over some teams; but the focus of the team will not stray from each upcoming opponent.
“Obviously our final goal is to win a national championship,” Doherty said. “So we just try and take it a game at a time.”
The brown and gold have a six-day gap in between games before they head to rival Montclair State on Saturday for a 7 p.m. matchup with the Red Hawks (10-3, 2-2 NJAC). Despite the break, the team is not resting.
“We don’t have off,” Hall said. “We are still working, we are still running, we are still on a ball.”
The extra touches could prove crucial for the team. The Red Hawks rank third in the NJAC in goals per game with three. They also have the conference’s leading goal scorer, senior captain Lucas Terci.
The Profs are off to a great start, not only overall, but also in the NJAC. The team currently sits at the top of the conference standings with only six games left on the schedule.
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