Coming off a conference finals loss in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) playoffs last season, the Rowan women’s soccer team took a trip to the fountain of youth and is back in prime position to make another postseason run.
This Profs team is loaded with first and second-year players, as two freshmen and four sophomores are in the starting lineup, and 11 freshmen and 16 sophomores total have taken the field for the Profs this year.
While the Profs are currently undefeated at 8-0-2, Head Coach Scott Leacott has reason to believe that this young nucleus of Profs could be even better as the years go on.
“We definitely have a really good freshman class, obviously with a lot of freshmen playing right now, but we also have a ton of freshmen who aren’t seeing a ton of time right now, but they’re really good players, they just need a bit more seasoning,” Coach Leacott said. ”
With their on-field success, however, you would never be able to tell this is a team still learning how to play with one another. Natalie Pantalone, one of the few seniors on the team, credits the team’s off-the-field bonding experiences as a key component of that.
“We’ve been doing a lot of team bonding at the houses and just outside of soccer, in general, hanging out. So, [we’re] just trying to get the chemistry up not even just on the field,” Pantalone said. “We had a night where we made bracelets together, watched a movie, team dinners.”
The transition from a high school student-athlete to a college student-athlete can sometimes be overwhelming, but Coach Leacott has a simple ideology when it comes to focusing on the right things.
“The approach is, when you step on the soccer field, all I want them thinking about is soccer,” Coach Leacott said. “When you step off the soccer field, I could care less if you think about soccer at all, and that’s the separation you really need as a college athlete.”
For Olivia Giordano, one of the two freshmen in the starting lineup, the addition of other freshmen made it a more comfortable transition into college.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy transition for meeting all these new people,” Giordano said. “But it did make me feel more comfortable that there was such a big freshmen class coming in with me, and also a sophomore class that was already there.”
There are obviously a ton of positives when it comes to having a younger squad, but one of this team’s strengths is that they always have fun; just ask Giordano.
“All of the freshmen have always kept energy high because we want to play,” Giordano said. “We want to stay in, we want to make an impact on our team, and make a good rep for our freshmen class.”
Coach Leacott echoed this state, proud of his team’s attitude for the season.
“They have a lot of fun together,” Coach Leacott added. “They’re all first and second-year players so they’re enjoying their experience to the fullest. They haven’t really settled in yet so it’s interesting to say the least, this group definitely keeps you on your toes a little bit. But just the enthusiasm, the excitement, everything they bring to the table has been fantastic so far.”
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