Rowan Men’s Soccer Look for First NJAC Victory of the Season

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Ryan Cleary kicks the ball at midfield. Cleary scored the first goal of the game against Rutgers-Newark. Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. - Photo / Dom Francesconi via Rowan Athletics

After a loss and another tie this past week against New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) opponents, Rowan men’s soccer sits at 5-4-3 on the season and will be looking to get their first conference win of the season against Montclair State University this Saturday, Oct. 8.

Starting with last Wednesday, Sept. 28, the injury-riddled Profs were blanked by New Jersey City University (NJCU) 6-0 despite outshooting the Gothic Knights 16-11 along with a 6-2 advantage on corner kicks.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever coached a game like that in my thirty years of coaching. Not a good game for us, but it was also an outlier game,” Head Coach Scott Baker. “If you outshoot a team in soccer you don’t always win, but you usually never lose by six. It falls on us as a group and we can’t let that happen again.”

With the NJCU game zapped from their memory, their next game would be up north again this time against Rutgers-Newark on Sunday, Oct. 2.  

Last year, the Scarlet Raiders handed the Profs their first loss of the season and would be led once again by 2021 NJAC Offensive player of the year Franco Catania. 

Sunday’s game would end in a 2-2 tie after Rutgers-Newark was able to respond each time Rowan took a lead.

Junior Ryan Cleary got the Profs on the board less than five minutes into the contest to give them the lead, but the Scarlet Raiders got their own first half off the foot of Joe Alba to tie things up.

Rowan had a chance to put Rutgers-Newark away early en route to their first conference win of the season but failed to build upon Cleary’s early goal.

“We have to put teams away earlier because most of the time where we’ve had a tie it has come in one-goal games,” Cleary said. “If we can get that difference up to two or three goals, then we’ll really be able to put more teams away and turn the ties into wins.”

In the second half, Rowan took a 2-1 advantage thanks to Gil Ferreira’s first goal of the season.  With that goal, a tremendous amount of pressure had been lifted off his shoulders.

“For me, it was not overthinking it and just doing it,” Ferreira said. “When I got that goal it was one of the greatest feelings and as a striker, you love that feeling. I think this one goal can open up a lot of doors for me and make me a very dangerous threat in the NJAC.”

However, the dangerous Catania responded minutes later with his ninth goal of the season to tie the game at its 2-2 final score. 

After almost a week off, Rowan will travel to Montclair State looking to get their first NJAC win of the season.

The Red Hawks are 8-1-3 on the season and are currently nationally ranked 14th by D3soccer.com.  

The Profs’ have a huge opportunity in front of them, but it won’t be easy. If Rowan hopes to get their first conference win of the season on Saturday, Oct. 8, it is going to take a group effort.

“I wanna see us compete more. Put our best foot forward and give everything we’ve got,” Cleary said. “Newark was a step up [competition-wise] but our team has a lot more to give with a bench full of guys willing to give it their all.”

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