After winning in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament, Rowan men’s soccer fell in the second round to the No. 4 Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks 4-1 in penalty kicks (PKs).
For the second consecutive season, the Profs ended their season in the second round of the NCAA tournament and finished with a 12-5-6 record.
“The thing I enjoyed the most was winning as kind of underdogs,” sophomore Turlough Gartlan said. “We just beat the Montclair [State University] who was ranked as the No. 9 team, then we played a very good game against Middlebury [College] the No. 20 team and beat them.”
In the first round matchup, Rowan took an early lead in the first half thanks to the foot of Gil Ferreira. But it wouldn’t last long, as Middlebury College responded with two first half goals of their own, taking the lead into the half 2-1.
In the second half freshman sensation Johnny Troiano and grizzled veteran Chad Yates each scored goals to give the Profs a 3-2 advantage over the Panthers, which was the difference in the game.
On the most recent episode of the Rowan Sports Review presented by Rowan Radio, Ferreira had this to say about captain Chad Yates.
“He’s clutch,” Ferreira said. “He’s super clutch. He’s one of those guys that is good at everything. It’s so fun to play with him and honestly he’s such a great character on our team. He always has a joke, always makes people laugh, and makes everything so comfortable. He’s such a pleasure to play with and a great guy, off the field as well.”
In their second round matchup against the Steven Ducks, Yates lived up to the word of his teammate, putting his team up 1-0 in the 15th minute on a beautiful strike from well outside the box.
The defense held on strong, keeping the Ducks scoreless for much of the match until controversy hit at the 84:13.
With Stevens threatening inside the final third of Rowan, a loose ball found the foot of Bruno Andion, who struck the ball towards the net from 18 feet out.
Dylan Aportela attempted to save the ball, but it hit the cross to his right. The ball then proceeded to pirouette all the way down the line, on the side of field of play, hitting the opposite cross before Aportela could jump on it.
Though it never clearly crossed the goal line, the officials called it a goal. With under six minutes left in regulation, the Profs’ were tied up at a goal a piece.
The tie lasted through the two overtime periods, and Stevens ultimately prevailed 4-1 on PKs, ending Rowan’s national championship aspirations for this season.
Despite another early exit from the tournament, Rowan accomplished something they hadn’t since 2003, winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) and Head Coach Scott Baker’s first in ten years coaching the team.
When asked in an interview on Nov. 9 about what he was most excited about going into the NCAA tournament with this group, Coach Baker was eager to see his guys perform on the biggest stage.
“Having this group and our guys have a chance at the biggest stage to preform, show who they are and experience it,” Coach Baker said. “This whole week its been awesome. Especially with the season that we had that appeared to be so up and down that they’re getting that opportunity.”
Coach Baker also picked up his 100th career victory earlier this season on Sept. 10, improving his career record to 109 wins, 44 loses and 14 ties, only trailing his former head coach Dan Gilmore as being the winningest coach in program history.
Chad Yates completed his senior season campaign with 14 goals, 6 assists, 34 points and seven game-winners. Yates, the team leader in all those respective categories, feasted on out-of-conference opponents, scoring eight of his 14 goals against out-of-conference foes, including the pair he had in the first and second round of the NCAA playoffs.
The team gelled at the exact right time in the season and became one of the scariest teams in the nations.
With Stevens advancing past them on PKs, Rowan technically has not lost since their 3-0 loss back on Saturday, Oct. 8, to Montclair State University, dropping them to 5-3-3 on the season and 0-2-2 in conference.
Since that loss, the Profs rolled through competition down the stretch, compiling a 7-0-3 record. They outscored their opponents 24-5 during that stretch, which included six consecutive shutouts, seven total shutouts and five games of at least three goals scored.
Despite the sour ending to the season, the resiliency of the 2022 Rowan University men’s soccer team won’t be easily forgotten.
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