Rowan University field hockey won their New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Tournament Semifinal match-up against Ramapo College 3-1 Wednesday night and will be heading to the tournament’s championship match.
Bundled-up fans packed the Richard Wacker Stadium to cheer on their favorite teams as Rowan, the number one seed, took on the number four seed, the Roadrunners, in what was an intense playoff performance from both sides of the ball.
Forward Krystyna Hovell, a junior, started the scoring early in the first quarter by redirecting a pass from forward Julia Patrone, a freshman. It looked like the beginning of another high-scoring performance by the Profs, however, they were not able to score again until Hovell ended the first half with another tip-in goal.
Just five minutes into the second half, forward Kristiina Castagnola, a senior, sent a ball inside the circle and Hovell was there, once again, to redirect the ball in the net. This capped off the Profs’ scoring for the night.
Hovell picked up her first hat-trick of the season and felt proud of her performance after the game.
“It feels very earned,” Hovell said. “I’ve been working very hard all season and all of my hard work is finally paying off, and my teammates were there to help me set up for those goals.”
Head Coach Michelle Andre also commended Hovell’s ability to be a net-front presence.
“Sometimes we say… if you’re in the right spot, sometimes goals will take care of themselves,” Coach Andre said. “She did a nice job of holding her spot and holding her position.”
Ramapo, down by three goals, kept attacking Rowan’s defensive circle and were able to get on the board with a goal from a corner to make the score 3-1.
Even with the added pressure, the comeback attempt fell flat for the Roadrunners, and Rowan was able to close out the game with a victory.
While the game was closer than usual, Coach Andre felt good to see her team step up for the playoffs and get on the board.
“Anytime you’re in a playoffs, you’re always going to want the team’s best effort,” Coach Andre said. “We had our lapses tonight, but, you know, we found a way to put it in the back of the cage. So, that’s always a good thing.”
The last time Rowan met Ramapo, they beat them with a score of 8-0. The events tonight did not mirror what transpired in that game, due to the playoff atmosphere and the tough competition Ramapo put forward.
“I definitely think they might have come out a little bit stronger, just because it’s a playoff game. It’s the semi-finals,” Hovell said. “I just think that they gave us a good competition.”
Rowan is now heading back to the NJAC Tournament Finals and will face the winner of Kean vs.The College of New Jersey on Sat., Nov 6.
Hovell and the Profs are looking forward to another chance at winning the NJAC tournament after their loss in 2019.
“It feels so good,” Hovell said. “You know, we made it this far in my freshman year and all of that excited feelings are coming back and I’m just stoked [and] ready to play on Saturday.”
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