This week Rowan men’s soccer will travel north for two New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) matchups this week against New Jersey City University (NJCU) and Rutgers University-Newark hoping to improve upon their 5-3-2 record.
Dealing with a multitude of injuries to start the season, it’s been quite an impressive start for this year’s squad, rolling out a lot of young guys with some of their veterans on the shelf with injuries.
“Honestly it’s been good [the start of the season]. A lot of young guys at the beginning of the season needed to get that experience playing against bigger and faster guys,” said senior Co-Captain Jake Logar. “I have one hundred percent confidence in all of them, and I think these past couple weeks they’ve been putting in the work and following the older guy’s lead.”
Wednesday, Sept. 28, was when they took on the 5-1 Gothic Knights of NJCU in Jersey City without many of their key players due to injury.
NJCU in their last game put up a tough performance against no. 21 Montclair State University losing 1-0 on a late second-half goal. Usually a softer NJAC opponent, the Gothic Knights are a much tougher team this year.
“This is a team that can sneak up on you,” Head Coach Scott Baker said. “When we go into these kinds of games, we focus on us. The guys need to come in ready and focused to play, and it seems like they are.”
Unfortunately for the Profs, the Gothic Knights were able to sneak up on Rowan and were shut out by NJCU 6-0, making their record 5-4-2.
They now on Saturday, Oct. 1, will travel north again, this time taking on 4-3-2 Rutgers-Newark, an opponent much scarier on paper than NJCU.
The Profs took on the Scarlet Raiders once last season in Glassboro, and Rutgers-Newark prevailed 2-1. With their leading goal scorer Franco Catania back for another season, fans should expect another highly contested contest come Saturday night.
“Rutgers-Newark is a tougher team from a skill and technical standpoint,” senior Alex Ferrara said. “Saturday’s game is just going to come down to who can actually play better soccer that night.”
11 games in and the Profs have been led in scoring by senior Chad Yates, who has accumulated 14 points this season with five goals and four assists. Freshman Johnny Troiano is second on the list after scoring his first two goals against Kean last Saturday, bringing his season point total to six, two goals and two assists.
Mason Martelloni is the only other Prof with more than one goal on the season with two, while Ferrara, Ryan Gale, Davide Caputo, Turlough Gartlan and Cole Hayman each have one goal.
Goalkeeper Chay Kaplan has settled into the starting role nicely as the team has gone 3-1-2 when he starts in goal. In only seven games, he has recorded 16 saves and has been a part of three shutouts for Rowan.
With the start of the season behind them, men’s soccer has a reason to be proud of the adversity they’ve overcome so far. But with NJAC play getting into full swing there’s very little time to reflect on past glory, or future ambitions when each game from now to the end of the season, is going to be a brawl.
“Just one game at a time,” Coach Baker said. “There’s no looking past one game, you especially can’t do that in the NJAC or you’ll lose. The most important game for us is always our next opponent. Our focus is on that and we do have three tough NJAC games coming up on the road. We’ll take them one at a time.”
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