Last Wednesday night in Glassboro, New Jersey Rowan men’s soccer (9-1-1) defeated New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) opponent Stockton University (8-6-1) in overtime 2-1.
Forward Chad Yates, a sophomore, scored both goals for Rowan off assists from midfielder Junior Miranda, a senior, and forward Wilby Alfred, a sophomore.
“This is a real big win, a huge conference win,” Head Coach Scott Baker said. “Stockton brings a different energy when we play. This is the biggest rivalry for us and I think for them as well.”
The Profs found themselves trailing in the first half after a goal by Sebi Morrello gave the Osprey’s the only goal of the half and a 1-0 lead.
At the end of the 64th minute, Miranda found Yates, who proceeded to get by his defender with ease to score Rowan’s first goal of the night. This would extend Yates’ scoring streak to three games.
Towards the end of regulation with the score tied at 1-1, Stockton threatened to score multiple times but was denied by the Prof’s senior goalkeeper James Weinberg. The pressure of the situation didn’t bother Weinberg though.
“I wouldn’t say there was any pressure, it felt more like good nerves,” Weinberg said. ”This is the second time I’ve played Stockton and the first time I remember the nerves were a lot higher. Having that year of experience helped lessen the nerves.”
At the end of regulation, the score was still tied. This meant that, for the second game in a row, the Profs would be heading into overtime to determine a winner.
Two minutes into OT, Alfred found Yates open just outside the box. Yates ripped the ball into the net for the game-winning goal, sending Stockton home with the loss.
“[After the goal] The first thing I was thinking was holy smokes I’m tired,” Yates said. “Wilby came down the line, taking guys on. I was just set up in the right stop. The ball popped out to me and I just said to myself keep it down, anything on frame has a chance to go in.”
After scoring his game-winner, Yates ripped off his shirt in pure joy as he and his teammates mobbed each other in the right corner to celebrate their victory.
“That feeling is once in a lifetime,” Yates said. “Especially in a big game like this, we needed this win after the couple of results that set us back a little bit. This one really felt good.”
With the contributions from Yates throughout the season so far, Coach Baker recognizes his importance to the team.
“It’s almost not fair to call it a hot streak for him,” Coach Baker said. ”He plays his butt off all the time and does so much for us. If he’s not scoring, he’s defending. And if we win a game 1-0, he’s a huge reason for that.”
With only three games left in the regular season, Rowan is in a position to earn one of the top seeds in the NJAC playoffs. All remaining games are against NJAC opponents, including Kean University on Saturday and Montclair State University — who are undefeated in conference play — a week later.
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