Rowan’s Men’s Soccer came out on top in their first-round matchup in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship Tournament on Saturday, Oct. 30. The team beat Stockton University 1-0 to advance to the conference semifinals.
Sophomore forward Wilby Alfred tallied the only goal of the game. This marked Alfred’s eighth goal of the year, as well as his third game-winner.
After the Profs’ victory, Head Coach Scott Baker spoke about his team’s big win, as well as his team’s rivalry against Stockton.
“It feels great,” Coach Baker said. “Stockton is a great team. Towards the end of the season, they definitely proved what kind of team they are. It is a great rivalry. I believe both games against Stockton this year displayed two great teams battling, so the rivalry is definitely being built in a positive way.”
Despite the victory, Alfred still pushes for the improvement of himself and the entire team moving forward in the NJAC Tournament.
“It feels amazing to come out here and get the win with the boys,” Alfred said. “I thought we didn’t play our best game, but, at the end of the day, we won the game, which is the most important thing.”
This game was a scoreless affair well into the first half. However, Alfred changed that at the 38-minute mark when he collected his own rebound, tucked another shot into the left post and scored. Stockton failed to respond.
Even with all of Alfred’s success this season, he knows that he and his teammates have a common goal.
“It does feel amazing, but at the end of the day it’s all about the team,” Alfred said. “We’re one team, so when we step on the field, it doesn’t matter who scores. As long as we score, it still goes towards the team. Winning is what matters.”
Despite Alfred’s team-first mentality, Coach Baker sees a star in him.
“Wilby is one of the most dangerous players in Division III Soccer,” Coach Baker said. “When he gets the ball and he’s going forward, he’s almost impossible to stop. If he has close to 90 minutes to get a goal, in all likelihood, he’s going to get one.”
It’s easy to get excited after a big win. However, for Coach Baker and the company, it is still tunnel vision on what lies ahead. Specifically, their semi-finals matchup against Montclair State University.
“We have to bring the same energy that we brought the last time we played Montclair,” Coach Baker said. “We need to bring that energy and battle the whole game.”
Alfred echoed similar beliefs, all backed by his team-focused mindset.
“We have to keep working and trusting each other,” Alfred said. “Just go out there, have fun and stay positive.”
Saturday’s victory against Stockton leads them to their next challenge which awaits them at the Montclair State Campus on Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.
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