Rowan Women’s Soccer returns to NJAC Championships

Ava Morales celbrating. Morales scored the game winning goal against TCNJ. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen

The Rowan Women’s Soccer team is heading back to the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship game for the second straight year after their 1-0 victory over The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

After a 0-0 tie to the Lions on Wednesday, Oct. 19, the Profs were determined to keep their season alive. They came out of the gates with a ton of energy and got some good scoring opportunities as a result. While none of their shots hit the back of the net in the first half, Head Coach Scott Leacott was confident the Profs would get one in the back of the net. 

“We stuck to what we were doing good,” Coach Leacott said. “We didn’t alter the game plan very much in the second half, we just told them to stick with what was working and I think we did a good job of that in the second half.”

Freshman and midfielder Ava Morales shared that sentiment.

“Once I got off the field I told the girls ‘I feel it coming’ and I think we all felt it,” Morales said. “Like we all knew it was coming.”

In what she describes as “the biggest game of her life,” Morales and the Profs’ gut feeling ended up coming to fruition, as the freshman got the Profs on the board in the 68th minute after heading sophomore midfielder Sarah Bergan’s corner kick right past the Lions goalkeeper. 

“It’s always good to do something for your team and really give them the opportunity because we all deserve it,” Morales said. 

The Profs’ 1-0 lead was seemingly insurmountable with NJAC Goalkeeper of the Year Calista Burke and NJAC Defensive Player of the Year Emma DeMaise on the team. While all the attention is on Burke and her 12 consecutive shutouts, she credits her teammates for the team’s strong defensive showing. 

“We have found a point in our season, in the postseason, that we all just click,” Burke said. “We know our strengths and weaknesses. We know our style of play and they are awesome. I credit them so much, I feel like they do not get enough recognition, the defense is awesome.”

As the Profs get ready for the NJAC Championship game, there is both excitement and the desire for redemption after just missing out on the NJAC regular season title.

“You get to play for a title, and it’s our second time we had an opportunity to play for a title,” Coach Leacott said. “We had the regular season in line. We didn’t take care of that and now we just gotta go up to Montclair and take care of business up there.”

The Profs will look for their first NJAC title since 2016 on Saturday, Nov. 5 when they play the tournament’s No. 1 seed Montclair State University.

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