With the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship Tournament in full swing, the Rowan women’s soccer team is ready to make a run for their first NJAC Championship since 2016.
After securing a top-two seed in the conference and getting a first-round bye as a result, the Profs are still giving it their all and continuing to take practice as if it were any other day.
“We don’t necessarily change what we’re doing in training or anything,” Head Coach Scott Leacott said. “This week it’ll just be getting some rest for some of the players that are banged up, but most of the stuff this week will be working on our weaknesses. We’re not going to change up drastically, sometimes if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Getting a first-round bye was a huge accomplishment for the team, leaving players excited and eager to start the tournament. Senior forward Nina Carlson and the rest of the Profs are trying to contain that eagerness so it doesn’t come back to bite them come tournament time.
“I think we’re super excited but I also think that we are kind of level-headed,” Carlson said. “We know we have to be like that because, in the past when we’ve gotten kind of over our heads and too excited, we’ve had like really bad first halves, so we are just trying to take what we learned throughout the season to progress us forward in the tournament.”
Excitement seems to be the theme around the locker room, as the majority of this Profs team will be playing in their first NJAC tournament. The Profs’ point leader, freshman forward Olivia Giordano, couldn’t have imagined a better way to start her collegiate career.
“This is honestly like the best I could ever imagine for my freshman year,” Giordano said. “It’s very exciting. I can’t wait to do this with my team for the first year. It’s the best experience honestly.”
With the majority of this Profs team being so young, it’s been up to the upperclassmen to give the first and second-year players pointers about tournament season. Both Carlson and Coach Leacott have tried to stress to the younger players that every moment matters.
“I’ve just constantly been saying, you know, take every moment and embrace it,” Carlson said. “Because in four years it’s over so quickly and you only get four more seasons to play soccer, which most of us have played our entire lives.”
“Everything is on a different level because it could be your last game of the season,” Coach Leacott added. “So it’s not like your eighth game of the year where you know you’re going to have a ninth game. This could be the end of the season.”
One of the biggest factors that helped the Profs all year is their unity. The Profs believe in themselves and they believe in each other. Carlson and Giordano know that they have the talent and chemistry to make a run for the title of NJAC champs.
“This year it’s like really in our hands,” Carlson said. “If we want it enough, I think that we’ll definitely get it and we have a group that’s more than capable of it.”
“We believe if we do everything right,” Giordano said. “Which we have the capability to do, then we will win.”
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