With the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) tournament creeping up on them, the Rowan Lacrosse team is using their last games of the season to prepare for the May tournament.
After recently taking Stockton University down by a score of 19-8, the Profs are entering the final stretch of the season on a four-game winning streak, pushing their overall record to 12-4 with just one game remaining. As the season finale approaches, Head Coach Lindsay Delaney wants the Profs to focus on keeping a calm and relaxed mindset and believes that can help them when the tournament rolls around.
“I think a cohesive balance unit on both sides, strong transitional play will benefit us. But really just calm minds so if we can stay calm, we’ll be ahead of the game,” Coach Delaney said.
While Coach Delaney wants to see the team calm and free, junior captain Sophia Schiavo is looking for the team to maintain the same high level of energy even as a new challenge approaches.
“I think heading into playoffs and then the NJAC tournament, keeping the energy high, is going to be really important as we keep grinding our practices and keeping the energy high,” Schiavo said.
Fellow junior captain Hannah Lombardo also believes keeping a positive attitude with her teammates will help during the tournament.
“I think just making each other better every single day and pushing each other to limits that we don’t even think we’re capable of is what’s really going to get us far in the NJAC,” Lombardo said. “Just working hard and never settling for being good, but we want to settle for being better every single day.”
With 12 of their 17 games this season coming against teams from outside of the conference, the Profs believe that their tough schedule will only help propel them past their postseason opponents.
“Our out-of-conference schedules are definitely more difficult than our NJAC opponents, so I think that those games have not only prepared us for the next games after those but for the tournament,” Schiavo said.
Lombardo echoed Schiavo’s statement about the Profs’ tough schedule.
“I think the competitiveness of the teams that we play definitely prepares us for our games that we’re going to face,” Lombardo said. “Just the fact that we’ve worked so hard in practice every single day, we’re super conditioned and we’re faster and stronger than our team has ever been, so I think that’s what is also really going to help us when we play harder teams as the tournament starts.”
Coach Delaney is looking for goalkeeper Reilly Shaup to be a part of the communication on the field during these tough games, and while the team’s recent blowout wins have led to Shaup and others checking out of the game early, she believes that it may provide the team with a big boost.
“[Shaup] needs to lead through communication first, she needs to be heard not really seen. She has to be calm, stay in her cage, and be proactive against shooters,” Delaney said. “Obviously, we’re going to have some strong games in the NJAC, scoring-wise differential, so it allows us to work on a lot of things and allows us to rest some legs, so I think we’ll go into the NJAC tournament on a high note.”
When it comes to the offensive and defensive abilities throughout the tournament, Coach Delaney is confident in her group of seniors to continue to play strong.
“I think the seniors will lead as they’re supposed to and continue their offensive abilities, but Erin Scioli defensively alongside Reilly Shaup, the defensive unit, Julianna Corson will handle the midfield,” Coach Delaney said.
Lombardo is focusing on improvements the team can make prior to the tournament.
“I think improvements are just fixing the little things that are in our control and just little tweaks that we need to make and just working hard every single day of practice,” Lombardo said. “Just fixing things and other games that might have forced us to have a low or just not play our best way. If we keep our stick work, our conditioning and everything intact, I think that it’ll really lead us to success in the NJAC.”
After recently dominating teams, Schiavo wants the Profs to continue to stay locked in and play their brand of lacrosse.
“We want to let them adjust to us instead of us adjusting to them and I think that’ll bring us more success as we prepare to play the harder teams in our conference,” Schiavo said.
The Profs will end their regular season on Saturday, April 29, when they host Montclair State. The NJAC tournament will take place afterward, with the semifinal occurring on Wednesday, May 3.
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