Chad Yates Scores two in Rowan Men’s Soccer Victory on Senior Night

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Chad Yates goes to kick the ball. Yates scored both goals on his senior night. Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2022. - Photo / Dom Francesconi via Rowan Athletics

Saturday night, Oct. 22, Rowan men’s soccer defeated William Paterson University 2-0 on senior night, moving their record to 8-5-4 overall and 3-2-3 in New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play. 

Fittingly, on a night commemorating the seniors for their accomplishments and contributions to the team, senior captain Chad Yates scored both goals for the Profs.

“Playing with this group, a bunch of us have been together for all four years,” Yates said. “Luke [Yates] and Mark [McStay] we picked them up along the way, its been a great journey throughout the season… I think it’s setting in for a couple of us with that it’s coming down to the wire. So now, every game is just a dog fight and going and doing your business one game at a time while soaking up all the experience.”

The two goals of the evening brought his season total to ten, which only trails Rutgers-Newark forward Franco Catalina’s 16 goals for most in the conference. Yates does lead the NJAC in game-winning goals with five, and is second in points with 25. 

However, the greatest triumph Saturday night was the return of senior Luke Yates (no relation to Chad Yates). Sidelined since Sept. 20, Luke Yates returned like he never left, setting up an assist for Chad Yates before the start of the 44th minute. 

Playing through a severe ankle injury that he suffered at the end of September, Luke Yates displayed a level of grittiness associated with playing for Head Coach Scott Baker. 

“First off I gotta thank God because I thought my season was over. When I met with the trainers and found out it was broken, it felt like it was over,” Luke Yates said. “I’m very grateful for the training staff they did everything they could to get me back out here. I love playing, I was dying on the bench so to be back out here is a blessing.”

Even more impressive was the dime he kicked from outside of the box with his injured ankle that Chad Yates headed in.

“He’s been waiting a long time to come back,” Coach Baker said. “He’s obviously toughing it out, I’m not sure he’s fully ready. I mean he’s ready enough health-wise to try it but he toughed it out and that first play [the assist] is a big play, and if we don’t get it as we’ve seen it could go another way.”

The Profs had a rocky start to conference play going 0-2-2 in their first four NJAC games, averaging a goal a game. They were out-scored 9-0 in their two losses. 

They’ve responded by going 3-0-1 in their last four NJAC games, scoring nine goals (2.75 per game) while newly appointed goalkeeper Dylan Aportela has held the competition scoreless, recording four shutouts.  

Since Aportela has stepped into goal something has clicked for the team that’s allowed them to take it to another level. 

“Our goalkeeper [Aportela] has had four shutouts in a row. It’s obviously the whole team and defense, but since he’s gone in since Montclair he hasn’t let in any goals,” Coach Baker said. “Four and a half games without a goal, if you get shutouts you’re gonna get wins definitely down the stretch and postseason. You win games by getting shutouts.”

With the win Saturday night, Rowan currently owns the fourth-best record in the NJAC, making them eligible for the conference postseason.

With only one regular season game remaining against Stockton University in Glassboro on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m, the boys in brown and gold are playing their best soccer at the most important part of the season. 

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