Rowan men’s soccer shutdown Rutgers-Camden on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 4-0, securing their first New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) win of the season (1-2-2) and improving their overall season record to 6-5-3.
Senior Captain Chad Yates was the star of the night, recording his hat trick on his home turf and pushing his season goal total to eight.
“One at a time. We came into this game knowing it was going to be a big one since we’ve been struggling lately,” Yates said. “I’m a team player, I love the fact my teammates are working into their spots and getting me on the ball as much as possible because they trust me. And the respect goes both ways, I trust them to have the ball when I’m not on it and I know they’re going to set me up with good opportunities.”
Yates got the Profs on the board right away, converting on a penalty kick less than a minute and a half into the game. Later on, in the first half, Yates pulled up from “Steph Curry range,” making good on his second goal of the night.
However, before he could score his third goal of the night to complete the hat trick, Nick Salazar-Escobar found a wide-open Armando Santana in the box late in the first half. Santana then headed a beautiful pass to Ryan Barnes who took care of the rest, putting Rowan up 3-0.
“I was wide open,” Santana said. “Nick [Salazar-Escobar] played me a ball in the air and I saw Ryan [Barnes] to my left so I chipped it in with my head and he scored.”
Barnes and Santana are both freshmen and each earned their first goal and assist of their college careers respectively.
“I trusted Armando [Santana] to get that ball to me. I knew one hundred percent that the ball was going to be there because we practiced it time and time again,” Barnes said. “Every day we work on finishing, he sets me up in the practice and it’s just the same in the game.”
Santana’s job as a facilitator wasn’t over, however, as with under ten minutes left he found Yates who completed the hat trick, sending the Scarlet Raptors flailing back down Route 55 with a final score of 4-0.
Getting their first NJAC win of the season five games into conference play wasn’t the start the Profs were looking for, but nevertheless, they took a step in the right direction.
While a 4-0 score is quite a statement win, Rowan still has their eyes locked on postseason play despite the harsh adversity tossed their way this season.
“We’re a really good team. I think we’re a tournament team, and to do that we gotta put together three, four, five games in a row,” Head Coach Scott Baker said. “This is a good win at home but we have to put five of them together, some of them will be here and others will come on the road. We gotta show that we are champions and it was good that we got that goal in the second half and didn’t just lay down and be okay with the 3-0 lead. Between scoring in both halves and getting the shut out it’s a step forward but we gotta keep showing that championship mentality and push towards making the tournament and making a run.”
Rowan’s next opponent will be Ramapo College, slated to start at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, in Glassboro.
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