Rowan Women’s Soccer puts up third straight shutout with 5-0 win

Ava Morales looks to cross the ball. Morales scored two goals in the win over NJCU. Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023. - Photo via Lee Kotzen

The Rowan Women’s Soccer was dominant in their match against New Jersey City University (NJCU) on Wednesday, Sept. 27, winning by a score of 5-0 with a great performance from the team’s backline. This is the third game in a row this season with a shutout and their eighth shutout in a row against New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) teams in the regular season (dating back to last season).

Head Coach Scott Leacott was quite impressed with the backline’s performance, feeling they were prepared for each game.

“They are very experienced,” Leacott said. “There were times when things got a little crazy. But when you have an experienced backline, it helps out a lot in those moments.”

Team captain, Emma DeMaise, agrees with her coach’s sentiment that the team’s backline is performing well due to years of experience.

“We played great today,” DeMaise said. “Each game, we get better and better. We are connecting a lot better. Being close on and off the field has allowed us to connect and communicate better with each other. It is a returning lineup for our backline, so we know how each other plays.”

The team’s defense has been on fire since their 2-2 tie against Swarthmore two weeks ago. Since that game, opposing teams have combined to only fire off seven shots, with none hitting the back of the net.

“I think it was something we needed,” DeMaise said. “It was definitely an awakening we needed. It has allowed us to get our heads in the game and made us train and work really hard. It shows because we keep shutting teams out.”

Another key to this winning streak has been the ability to score first and put the pressure on opposing offenses. Mackenzie Clement started the game with the first goal at the 3:44 mark of the first half and was then followed by Olivia and Julianna Giordano, who both scored goals later in the first half.

“We have been scoring a lot early on,” Leacott said. “I think it provided extra motivation. After the third goal, I think the place was kind of dead and silent. They have to understand the more goals we score, the better we are playing. The other team was playing with five backs, which is really rare in our sport. They stayed with the five backs most of the time.”

Setting the tone is not just great for the offense; it also helps the defense. With NJCU playing more defensive backs, their offense was never able to get into rhythm, especially with the way Rowan’s backline was playing.

“Starting off on a good note calms us down a little bit,” DeMaise said. “We set the tone and really take control of it.”

In addition to Clement and goals from the Giordano twins, midfielder Ava Morales had two goals in the game today as well. Just two games ago against Penn State Berks, her fellow midfielder Sarah Bergan had three goals. They are both playing with real aggression right now.

“They are playing smart,” Leacott said. “They are not attacking at the same time, which is key. They played with each other all of last year. Now they are both just playing really smart with each other. We want one of them in the box because they are both tall and physical players. They can get to the head balls, and they have done a really good job with that.”

Morales does not just feel like she and Bergan are playing aggressively; she thinks the team in general is playing aggressively and hitting their stride.

“I think we got into conference play, and everything clicked,” Morales said. “This is when it starts, not just for me, but for everyone else as well. We are all just really locked in right now.”

With the team now 7-0-1 and 2-0-0 in conference play, they look forward to playing Rutgers-Camden this Saturday, hoping to bring their win total up to three.

“It is super important to have these wins early,” Morales said. “Looking ahead, we have Rutgers-Camden this Saturday. Hopefully, these wins are just building confidence for us and getting us ready.”

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