Rowan Women’s Soccer has its most important game of the season coming up on Wednesday, Oct. 18, when they face off against the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) leading Lions of The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). One player they are looking to rely upon is junior outside back Manon Bada.
Bada is in her second year here at Rowan University. She transferred from Messiah University in Pennsylvania. Many factors went into her decision to transfer, with the biggest one being her proximity to her home.
“I didn’t like being too far away from home,” Bada said. “And, you know, I just liked the environment here more, with a lot of things to do around here, mainly just being closer to home.”
Her transition from Messiah to Rowan went very well educational-wise.
“It was pretty easy because when I transferred in, I was living at home last year, so it was pretty much just back to normal life and going to school,” Bada said. “So yeah, it wasn’t too bad. This year was more of a transition because I moved on to campus and started living so close, so the transition wasn’t too hard.”
On the other hand, her transition to the team was a bit of a cultural shift.
“The teams are very different,” Bada said. “The values at Messiah are very different because it is a Christian school, so a lot of things were different. But yeah, this team, they were very welcoming right off the bat, and I made some great friends.”
Due to this cultural shift, she wasn’t able to get the start that she may have hoped for here at Rowan. Her head coach, Scott Leacott, believes he knows the reason for the struggles at first.
“I think she’ll agree with this. She started out really slow, I mean, coming into a new environment basically didn’t seem like she was comfortable right away,” Leacott said. “And that’s a big part of when you enter a new situation: how comfortable you can get. And she just didn’t look comfortable. And then, slowly as the days progressed, she started to get more and more comfortable. And you saw that she was a very good back.”
As the year went on, you could see the comfort and confidence start to show, and she really started to impress her teammates and coaches. She got a big opportunity in the biggest game from last season, and she did not disappoint and has carried that momentum into this year.
“She definitely, as the year went along, got more and more playing time,” Leacott said. “And when one of our starters went down with an injury for the championship game, we had no problems with her just stepping right in, and she did a great job. So, you know, that’s the trust factor that she built throughout the year. And just coming into this year, she’s been really, really good, comfortable from the start, and has done everything that works extremely hard.”
Following that season, Bada moved on to campus with her teammates Olivia Falicki, Aine Delle Grotti, and Meghan Kryjer. Leacott thinks that this not only helps her fit in more but also become a better leader.
“She was really quiet last year. She was new last year, so obviously she was a little bit more on the reserved side,” Leacott said. “She built up some good friendships here. She lives with four or five girls on the team. A couple of them are very loud. So she has to fit in with that. She is such a kind person and has never said a bad word about anyone. While she is reserved, she does lead by example.”
After that big opportunity from last year’s championship game, she has become a critical part of the team this season. Recently, she has scored her first two goals of her college career within her last four games, one against Rutgers-Newark and another against Ramapo in her most recent game.
“Getting those opportunities has been great,” Bada said. “Playing defense, you do not have that many opportunities.”
Leacott has liked what he saw from the offensive side from Bada. These two goals have really shown off her skills on that end of the ball.
“She’s seen some opportunities where she knows there’s the personnel outside; she can make that run inside, and especially at Rutgers-Newark, that’s what she did,” Leacott said. “And then she’s been doing it on a consistent basis. She’s really smart and reads the game really well. If she needs to go outside, she’ll go outside; if she needs to go inside, she’ll go inside. So she’s done a really good job.”
With Bada heating up at the right time, she has a great attitude for that game against TCNJ.
“We are gonna play them straight up, not playing scared,” Bada said. “They’re a really good team. So we have to be confident in ourselves and know that we’re a good team.”