Rowan Women’s Soccer opens up NJAC play with a win

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Gabby Dean brings the ball up field. Dean scored two goals in the win over Kean. Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. - Photo via Lee Kotzen

The Rowan women’s soccer team defeated Kean University in their New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) opener on Friday, Sept. 22, with a final score of 4-0. Starting forward Olivia Giordano and starting midfielder Gabby Dean both scored two goals each.

The Profs could only find the back of the net once in the first half with Giordano scoring, but at halftime, they made the adjustments needed to come away with the win. 

“We definitely came out a little bit slow in the beginning. They were playing very passive, they weren’t pressing us,” said Dean. “We just had to come out and work harder than they were and once we were able to do that, we were able to move off the ball and get it moving offensively.”

Head Coach Scott Leacott did not expect such a defensive outing from Kean. 

“They kept a lot of numbers behind the ball,” Leacott said. “We made a couple of adjustments at halftime. We need some more runners; we need some more switching from midfield to forward and get a little bit more active in what you’re doing.”

The halftime adjustments would allow Giordano to score her second goal of the game and seventh of the season, in the 66th minute, making her the Profs leading scorer. Being the top scorer is nothing new to Giordano as she led the Profs last season with 11 goals. Giordano credits her teammates but understands what the team expects from her.

“I feel the responsibility,” Giordano said. 

Rowan’s offense is clicking on all levels. As a team, the Profs have now scored 28 goals and have 20 assists. The chemistry the team is displaying is growing every game and is part of the process that began a year ago.  

“We’re more experienced than we were last year. We had a lot of new players last year,” Leacott said. “They have a good feel for each other so it’s a very simple transition from last year to this year and even getting better and even working more together.”

The Profs’ defense dominated as they only allowed three shots and one corner kick the entire game. This is also the fifth shutout win that the Profs have this season. 

“We definitely focus on defensive shape and when to press,” Dean said. “We try to trap them in a corner and so once that outside person gets it, we tend to just close them in and we’re able to close them in and be successful in getting the ball back quickly.” 

The game was originally set for Saturday, Sept. 23 but weather concerns caused the game to be moved up. The sudden date change had no effect on the Profs’ rest and preparation. 

“We didn’t have a game since last Friday, so we were kind of itching to play,” Leacott said. 

The Profs will be on the road for their next two NJAC games, starting with the New Jersey City University (NJCU) Gothic Knights on Sept. 27. 

“We just have to keep this rolling,” Leacott said. “We just want to put 90 minutes together. We start putting 90 minutes together we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”

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