Rowan Field Hockey’s NJAC perfection continues in Conference Semifinals

Vanessa DiDonato takes the ball towards the goal. DiDonato scored four goals against Montclair State. Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen

Rowan field hockey moves on to the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship Tournament final against The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) after a dominating 6-1 win over Montclair State University. 

The Profs got the scoring going early with a quick goal from the team’s leading scorer, sophomore Julia Patrone, less than three minutes in. Two minutes later, freshman Sidney Pavlishin put the Profs up 2-0 which opened the gates for freshman Vanessa DiDonato.

With 2:41 remaining in the first, DiDonato netted her first of four goals leading her team to the conference final.

“She came to play,” Head Coach Michelle Andre said. “The thing is, with this team, they all came to play and everyone was doing their job.”

“Honestly it felt so good,” DiDonato added. “Especially just having the team behind me, supporting me and setting me up for success. It was a really great feeling and just doing it as a unit and moving together really just topped it off.” 

This was the second time in 11 days that these two teams matched up, with this game being much different than the 3-1 victory the Profs walked away with on Saturday, Oct. 22.

“I think we definitely worked together,” DiDonato said. “I think the first time we played them, the first couple quarters, we were individual. I think coming into this game we knew it was our field, that we earned this and that we need to pull through and make a statement.”

The Profs dominated the Red Hawks defensively, allowing only two shots for the entire game, and turned their defense into offensive opportunities. 

“Our defense was moving up the field,” Coach Andre said. “We were able to get a lot of midfield transitions instead of having to work it out of our backfield.” 

With TCNJ defeating Kean University, Rowan are set to face off against TCNJ on Saturday night with the conference championship on the line.

“I expect the same energy as today but ten times more,” DiDonato said. “We deserve to be here. We worked so hard to get to where we are so I think we just need to do it again and do it better.”

The Profs’ 6-0 regular season conference record has given them home field advantage for the championship game, where they will look to capture back to back titles.

“We love playing here,” Coach Andre said. “We love playing at home. The speed is right for us, it’ll be right for them too because they are a carpet team so it is going to be a very fast game… Bring them on.” 

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