Senior forward Rachel Galante goes for a shot against Haverford College last year. Photo courtesy of Nicole Mingo.

It’s been a feature four years in the making, but it couldn’t have happend at a better time.

After losing three straight games to Ursinus College, two of which were season openers in 2016 and 2017, the Rowan field hockey team was finally able to take down the Bears 3-1 to begin their 2018 campaign.

Senior forward Rachel Galante lead the Profs with two goals on six shots, as well as assisting on Rowan’s third goal from freshman forward Bridget Guinan. Galante’s goals came in the first period with Guinan’s finding the back of the net a little over six minutes into the second.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the game was the play of junior goalie Morgan Novak, who tallied her first career start with just one goal allowed on 10 shots faced in a full 70 minutes of play. She had five saves, three more than her college save total going into this year.

The brown and gold enter their fourth year under head coach Michelle Andre, who is a combined 39-19 since joining the Profs in 2015.

Rowan has advanced to the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament seven years in a row, but this could be the season that the Profs snatch the crown from The College of New Jersey. TCNJ has won four consecutive NJAC Championships and have knocked Rowan out of the tournament five years in a row, twice in the championship game.

The Lions are lead by legendary head coach Sharon Pfluger, who is entering her 34th season at the school, compiling 521-90-5 record. That’s a 84.5 win percentage.

Despite TCNJ’s success, Rowan has been selected right behind the Lions to finish second in the NJAC Preseason Coaches Poll.

With a healthy mix of veterans and new faces, of the 23 roster spots, 12 are occupied by upperclassmen. Last season, the Profs found a great rotation down the stretch and were able to utilize every roster spot to the best of their abilities. In doing so, they were able to win the last seven regular season games, two against NJAC opponents, to propel them into the tournament.

Rowan’s schedule to begin the year is a little shaky, playing four straight games away from Glassboro from the 8th to the 18th.

But, if anything has been shown by the teams that Andre has coached, it is that they are always hungry for the top of the conference and will stop at nothing to get that. This could very well be the year the brown and gold climb to the of the ladder.

Rowan’s next game is home on Sept. 5 against Eastern University. Game starts at 7 p.m.

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