There is a nip in the air and the days are getting short. That means one thing: the start of inter-conference play is just around the corner.
The Rowan University field hockey team is gearing up for their first New Jersey Athletic Conference [NJAC] game of the season and will take the field against Montclair State University this Friday.
Head Coach Michelle Andre knows it won’t be easy facing off against NJAC rivals as they bring skill and intensity to their matchups.
“It’s always one of the top conferences in the country . . . it could be anybody’s game,” Coach Andre said.
The last time Rowan and Montclair State met in 2019, the Profs took the win over the Red Hawks, 4-3. To achieve victory again, Andre believes there are certain factors the team needs to tap into.
“It’s really gonna be about who can persevere on the field,” Coach Andre said. “You know, if you have a lot of really good teams in your conference, it’s going to be about who can . . . survive the games because they are highly physical [and] highly emotional. There’s always a lot on the line.”
Leading up to Friday, there has not been much of a change in practice or preparation for the team, according to captain and forward Bridget Guinan
“We don’t really do anything specifically different in practice to prepare for NJAC games. We are just focused on improving our game and making sure we’re prepared for anything and everything,” Guinan said. “We know this is everything we have prepared for the last six weeks.”
There has always been a healthy rivalry between the two teams and Guinan is eager to play against the Red Hawks again.
“Montclair is always a tough team. They come out hard and play aggressive[ly],” Guinan said. “They always have a good team and the games are always close. We are excited to play them Friday, we know what we have to do to take care of business and are ready to do it.”
Nine games are left in the regular season, and six of them are NJAC games. While it’s a heavy workload Coach Andre said it is all about staying in the moment.
“For us, the motto has been ‘Right here, right now,’ because we have to take each day and each piece to build on to the next one,” Coach Andre said. “I’m keeping up staying focused on the task at hand and not looking so much ahead because you can’t have ‘ahead’ without having ‘right now.’”
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