The perfect formula to create a well-rounded team has been founded by the Rowan men’s soccer team. With a high-powered offense and stout defense, the team has been able to raise a few brows so far this season.
This past weekend, the team prepared for their second stanza in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), traveling to Wayne to take on William Paterson.
Both teams are neck-and-neck when it comes to offensive stats, being in the top-three in every offensive category out of all NJAC schools. Rowan comes out as superior, though, ranking top in assists, assists per game, goals, goals per game and total points.
Sophomore back Nick Schlageter put the Profs up early with an early goal in the second minute of the matchup. Rowan would follow this up with a second-half goal by junior forward Shane Doherty. The Pioneers fought back to score a late second-half goal, but it wasn’t enough. Junior goalie Erik Checkur was once again dominant in net with five saves to secure the win.
With the help of junior captain Will Sjaastad, the team has managed to be a force not just by outscoring opponents, but by strong defensive play too. The defenseman has appeared in all games this season.
“Being named Captain pushes my play to a whole new level,” Sjaastad said. “It’s definitely a fun task in itself.”
Consistency has been key for the squad thus far, and will definitely be an element of the game that has to be continued moving forward. Throughout 10 games this season, the brown and gold have been able to score two or more goals in every contest. They’ve also allowed a goal or less in seven contests. Even with all of this being said, the main goal is to come out with the gold at the end of the season.
“We have one goal at hand and that is to win a National Championship,” said junior forward Ryan Campbell.
He currently leads the team in goals with eight, and is tied in assists along with senior midfielder Jake Connors with five. To Campbell, though, personal statistics aren’t what’s important to his team’s success.
“It’s fun, but we have All-American talent all over this team,” Campbell said. “There may be games where I don’t score and Doherty puts in three or Hendrickson puts in a couple.”
This unselfish playing style has led the offense to average close to four goals a game this season.
The team will face their toughest challenge yet on Wednesday at home against Stockton University. Both teams serve as powerhouses in the NJAC. The Ospreys are currently undefeated this season, showing an 8-0-1 record. Stockton has been able to hold their opponents to only five goals through nine games. The defense is led by senior goalkeeper Kellen Groover. Groover has appeared in all nine games this season and is only surrendering .54 goals per-game.
“I think Stockton is going to get a whole new wave of Rowan that nobody in the country has seen yet,” Sjaastad said.
Rowan defeated Stockton 3-0 Wednesday night, recording their sixth shutout of the season. Hendrickson, Doherty and Sjaastad each netted a goal in the victory. Connors and senior captain Tyler Logar tallied an assist each. The Profs are now 9-2 and 3-0 in the NJAC.
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