The New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Field Hockey Championship Tournament kicks off this week and Rowan University will face Ramapo College for their first match-up on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
After a regular-season record of 14-2 and a conference record of 6-0, the Profs earned the number one seed and will face off against the number four seeded Roadrunners at home. Playing in their first playoff game since 2019 means a lot to junior forward and co-captain Bridget Guinan and the team.
“I am so excited to finally be back to where we want to be,” Guinan said. “It’s been two long years since we’ve been in the NJAC tournament so to finally be back in it is almost surreal. I didn’t know if I’d get this chance again.”
When Rowan played against Ramapo earlier in the regular season, they prevailed with an 8-0 win. While that could bode well for the Profs’ chances going into the game, the playoffs can prove to be an entirely different experience.
“I feel like we are very well prepared and in a good mindset going into this game,” Guinan said. “We beat them a few weeks ago, so we definitely feel confident, but they are a strong team so we know we can’t take them lightly. Anything can happen in the playoffs.”
While most of the freshman and sophomores on the team are seeing their first college-level playoff action ever, Guinan says they know what to do without having to be told what is expected of them.
“I think they can tell from the returners’ energy and mentality what they need to do,” Guinan said. “The biggest thing is to make sure everyone stays grounded and doesn’t lose sight of the team’s end goal.”
Number two-seeded Kean University will host the number three seed The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) at home in Union the same night as Rowan’s game against Ramapo. Both of the winners of Wednesday nights’ games will face each other in a championship game on Sat., Nov. 6, and whoever wins that will earn an automatic bid to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Field Hockey Tournament.
The stakes are high. And unlike in the regular season, the playoffs are sudden death; a loss means instant elimination. It also means entering every game with as much intensity as possible.
“Every game is it’s own season now,” said Guinan.
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