2018 has been a season of growth for this group of Profs.
After two straight seasons at 11-6 and disappointing ends to both with early exits from the postseason at the hands of Montclair State, this team is poised to make a deep run in the playoffs and challenge for the DIII National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Title.
When asked of the team’s upcoming battle for the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship Tournament and top-seeding in the upcoming NCAA tournament, head coach Lindsay Delaney kept it simple.
“Play fearlessly,” Delaney said. “Play fearlessly and play your game. Give them a game and anyone can win.”
The Profs have done more than give their opponents a game this year. In 14 games played, the brown and gold have only fallen twice, both times to top-four teams in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coach’s Association (IWLCA) poll, with TCNJ (1) and Salisbury (3) being the perpetrators. In their 12 wins, the Profs have outscored their opponents by five goals or more in seven contests and sit one spot out of the top 20 in the country at 21.
“This season I think people worry about us a little bit more because we are strong on both ends of the ball,” Delaney said. “Just because people worry about us more doesn’t mean we worry about them any less.”
Rowan has shown, on many occasions this season, that they can handle their game when they have their heads in the right place. The Profs handily defeated Rutgers University 20-3 on Tuesday to finished NJAC play 5-1. The team has one final tune-up Thursday night against Neumann University at 7 p.m., as they prepare for their fifth consecutive NJAC Tournament and their first NCAA bid in 3 seasons.
One of the strengths this team has leaned on this season is their depth on offense and the ability to spread the ball around and find the back of the cage. The brown and gold have five 20-goal scorers on the season, all coming from upperclassmen Maddie Bray, Kim Doyle, Liz Kramer, Taylor Gretz and Nicole Mickendrow. However, an additional shining light for the Prof attack this season has been freshman Ashley Lechliter, whose 19 goals have her ranked sixth on the team.
“We’re looking middle a lot and that’s how I play,” Lechliter said at Wednesday afternoon’s practice. “They’re seeing the middle and they’re seeing me.”
Lechliter has slotted in nicely into her attacking roll for the Profs, providing much needed secondary scoring to help the team elevate their victories to even greater margins. Her best game of her young career came last Saturday against Montclair State as she was able to pot five goals against the Red Hawks.
“Ashley has an easy going personality,” Delaney said. “Nothing is too big for her, no defense is too scary for her. She plays to her strengths and protects her weaknesses, she’s a finisher.”
For Lechliter, her eyes are focused on one thing, the playoffs.
“Everyone wants it and wants to go far this year,” Lechliter said. “I think we’re all loving it and everyone just loves this team.”
It is that type of cohesion the brown and gold will need to continue if they hope to beat the teams that have bested them this season. The Profs have proven they are a force to be reckoned with, posting their best record under Delaney and most wins in school history with 14.
Now it’s time to continue the process and prove they are the team to beat in the playoffs.
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