Rowan Men’s Soccer Advances to the NJAC Championship After Shutting Out Montclair

Rowan's Leo Montesinos dribbling up the field earlier this season. Montesinos would score the only goal on Wednesday night in their 1-0 win in the Semifinals game. Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. - Multimedia Editor / Nick Feldman

Rowan Men’s Soccer took down eleventh in the country, Montclair State University, 1-0 Wednesday night in the semifinals of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship Tournament, advancing to the finals against Kean University set to happen Saturday. Nov. 6. 

The lone goal of the match came from midfielder Leo Montesinos, a freshman, in the 49th minute. This gave the Profs all they would need in the semifinals contest. 

“He picked up the ball just outside the 18, advanced by two guys and set himself one-v-one with the keeper and tucked it into the corner,” Head Coach Scott Baker said. ”Just an amazing play.” 

This was Montesinos’ second goal of the season and was all Rowan needed due to their stellar defensive play all night long. Coming into the match, Montclair State had yet to be shut out this season. The Red Hawks took nine shots on goal, but goalkeeper James Weinberg, a senior, denied every single one and set his career-best in saves. 

It was the type of effort that was needed to take down the number one seed in the NJAC tournament. 

“When you get to games like this, you need a superstar-goalkeeper to get through it because they’re gonna need to be able to come up with big saves,” Coach Baker said. “He did it in 2019, he’s doing it again this year. We couldn’t be happier with him.”

Back Aaron Robertson, a senior, made huge plays down the length of the field to help to seal the victory for Rowan. One, in particular, came in the closing minutes of the game, in which Robertson stole the ball clean from a Red Hawk at midfield before sprinting with the ball to get the Prof’s back on the offensive attack. It was a crucial play that helped Rowan burn more time off the clock. 

Coach Baker described Robertson as a guy that does all the dirty work for the team, and, as always, being in the right spot at the right time. Robertson is a seasoned veteran on this team, playing back for the last three years. Coach Baker has the utmost respect for him. 

“If we had an unsung hero award, Aaron [Robertson] would be at the top of the list,” Coach Baker said. “Sometimes [his play] goes unnoticed, that’s why I would say he’s the unsung hero. We know who he is, what he does and it makes a tremendous difference.” 

After taking down the 11th ranked team in the country, Rowan will head up to North Jersey on Saturday, Nov. 6, to take on Kean University. In their prior matchup, Rowan suffered their only shut out of the season, losing 2-0, but with the Division III NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament at stake, everything is still on the line.

The Profs have put themselves in their current position by focusing on the match at hand, not on future or past matches. Their mindfulness has guided them through the season, never letting them get too high on themselves or too low. 

Saturday night is another opportunity for Rowan to show why they’re a threat to beat anyone, anywhere, anyhow.

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