Rowan Men’s Soccer Looks to Shake off Two Tough Losses Before the NJAC Playoffs

Rowan's Wilby Alfred trying to dribble past defenders in a game earlier this season. Alfred is hoping to help the team pick up their first after two losses. Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. - Multimedia Editor / Nick Feldman

Rowan men’s soccer (9-3-1) lost back-to-back games this week for the first time this season. 

Last Wednesday, the team traveled to Union in a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) showdown, taking on Kean University. 

Rowan’s only loss of the season coming into the game against Kean was on Sept. 25, against Rutgers-Newark almost a month ago.

Early on in the Kean game, Rowan fell behind and could never recover. In the first half, midfielder Matt O’Shea scored the first goal of the match for Kean. It was assisted by midfielder Nikolaos Theoudoulidis, who would score the second goal of the match for the Cougars shutting out Rowan in the process 2-0.

“After the loss on Wednesday, we sat down as a team and decided things needed to change. We didn’t give any effort at all on Wednesday,” Goalkeeper James Weinberg, a senior, said. 

Things certainly needed to change before Saturday’s game against Montclair State University, who was ranked fifth in the nation by The United Soccer Coaches Association.

It was a cold, rainy Saturday night in Glassboro when they faced Montclair, but during halftime of the game, Rowan still got a chance to honor seniors James Weinberg, Aaron Robertson and Junior Miranda. They also celebrated the 40th anniversary of Rowan’s 1981 NCAA Division 3 National Champion Men’s Soccer Team. 

It being senior night added a little more extra excitement to a game that was already shaping up to be must-see soccer. 

Despite playing 75 minutes of the match a man down, due to a red card violation, Rowan played at Montclair’s level all night, but just couldn’t get the ball in at the end, losing 2-1. 

The first half of the match was scoreless, but that quickly changed in the second half for Montclair State when they scored two goals in the first 20 minutes of the half. 

Down 2-0, Rowan showed grit all night, making the game closer when forward Matias Carrion, a freshman, scored his second goal of the season off a great pass from forward Chad Yates, a sophomore. With under ten minutes left, the Profs came close to tying on a few chances but fell short, losing 2-1.

Though they came up short, Rowan showed true grit and determination to even stay in the game against Montclair. Forward Wilby Alfred, a sophomore, talked after the game about the team’s effort, echoing the similar themes Weinberg was talking about. 

“Last game we didn’t show any heart,” Alfred said. “Today [Head Coach Scott Baker] gave us a speech in the locker room and told us to go out there and play for your boys. Tonight that’s exactly what we did. We showed heart, even though we were down 2-0, we kept our heads in the game and worked our butts off.”

For the first time this year, Rowan lost back-to-back matches and it did come at a bad time in the season, seeing as the NJAC Playoffs are approaching. It’s not all gloomy, however, as they’ll wrap up regular season play against NJAC opponent Rutgers-Camden on Oct. 27, and then head into the NJAC playoffs.

Rowan would win their matchup against Rutgers-Camden on Wednesday night 3-0, breaking their losing streak.

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