The Rowan women’s soccer team’s season came to a close after a 1-0 loss in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament on Sunday, Nov. 13.
The Profs’ took a two-day trip down to Virginia Beach in an attempt to bring home their first NCAA championship. They started with the task of taking down the Methodist University Monarchs in the first round.
On Saturday, Rowan jumped out to an early 4-0 lead within the first 25 minutes of play after two goals from freshman forward Olivia Giordano as well as goals from senior forward Nina Carlson and sophomore midfielder Emma DeMaise to set the tone for the day.
“We really put a lot of pressure on them and that was the whole key,” Head Coach Scott Leacott said. “I thought we did a great job, you can’t ask for a better start than we had in that game.”
The Profs rode the hot start to a 5-1 victory over the Monarchs and advanced to the second round for the first time since 2015, with a date with the Virginia-Wesleyan College Marlins on tap.
Contrary to the first round, it was the Marlins who jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as defenseman Alexandria Soteriou scored within the first three minutes, forcing the Profs’ to play from behind for the first time this year.
“One of the things we’ve been preaching on all year is don’t commit stupid fouls and I think we had a lazy tackle in our defensive third,” Coach Leacott said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of following the runners on their set piece, it just squirted out right back to a kid sitting on the far post who tapped it in.”
Soteriou’s goal ended up being the difference in the game and the Marlins knocked the Profs out of the tournament by a score of 1-0. While it was only the fourth time all year the Profs were shut out, Coach Leacott believes the team left some scoring opportunities out on the field due to the early deficit.
“We just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities per-say, we didn’t shoot when we could have shot,” Coach Leacott said. “We wanted to try and get back right away and we tried to score four goals in one basically. We kind of got away from what we were successful all year in… I just think we got a little bit tense.”
After an abrupt ending to a great season, the Profs’ can hang their head high on a season that included many accomplishments, such as the team’s first New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship (NJAC) since 2016 and first second-round appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament since 2015.
“Just proud of their effort. Just proud of how they brought it each day. It made my job and the coaching staff’s job easier when you go out to training and you don’t have to motivate them,” Coach Leacott said. “It was a successful year. You get a conference championship, you don’t give up a goal in the regular season conference, there’s so many records that were broken… we couldn’t be prouder of their effort.”
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