The Rowan women’s soccer team remained unbeaten after a 0-0 tie against the rival No. 18 ranked Lions of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) on Wednesday, Oct. 19.
It was the first time the two teams had faced off since the Lions had eliminated the Profs in last season’s New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship, but the roster turnover between both teams was too big to call this a rematch.
“I would say 65% to 70% of our team right now wasn’t on the team last year so we didn’t mention it once,” Head Coach Scott Leacott said. “They have a different team, we have a completely different team so you can sit there and say they did this last year, everything’s different this year.”
It was a tale of two halves for the Profs, as the team struggled mightily to generate any type of offense in the first half, and the team knew that if they wanted to win this one, they were going to have to step up their game for the second half.
“We were playing a little scared,” sophomore goalie Calista Burke said. “I think that definitely improved in the second half.”
“I think in the first half we weren’t playing our game, we weren’t playing how we usually play, we were on our heels,” freshman forward Olivia Giordano said. “I think they [TCNJ] were just intense and came to play and we just weren’t ready for it but in the second half we came after it and took it to them.”
Coach Leacott echoed his team’s thoughts, noting what he felt the key issue was during the first 45 minutes.
“We were doing a lot of ball watching,” Coach Leacott said. “We were not following runners defensively, and in the second half, you saw a completely different team.”
The Profs did look like a completely different team in the second half, as they played with a lot more energy and found their offensive rhythm, firing off all seven of their shots in the second half. The Profs were inches away from grabbing a 1-0 lead in the 77th minute, but Giordano’s shot attempt bounced off the top of the crossbar.
“At the moment, it was just crazy, chaotic,” Giordano said. “I took a touch and shot it but unfortunately it didn’t go in. Anything I could get my foot on, I just took a shot.”
The Profs and Burke faced a barrage of shots from the Lions, as they fired off 20 shots total to put pressure on the Profs’ defense, but Burke’s career-high eight saves kept the Profs afloat and their unbeaten season intact.
“I just took a bunch of deep breaths,” Burke said. “I have faith in my team. I have confidence in my team. I know they would have my back and I have their back. I just kept taking deep breaths and kept my composure.”
The Profs were recently ranked No. 20 in the nation, and while the recognition is nice, Coach Leacott wants the Profs to continue to look ahead and take things a game at a time.
“It doesn’t matter where you are now, it’s a matter of where you finish and we want to finish strong. It’s nice to get recognized like that by two outlets but we don’t talk about that much,” Coach Leacott said. “We still control our destiny to get the first seed so we need to win and we need to do a good job.”
The Profs will have a chance to move one step closer to that one seed as they head to Wayne, New Jersey to take on the 2-10-5 William Paterson Pioneers on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 3 p.m.
For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitSports.