Rowan Field Hockey is dancing its way to back to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III tournament, as the No. 17 ranked Profs won their third straight New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) title after a 3-0 win over the No. 22 ranked Lions from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).
Saturday’s title game was a rematch of last year’s championship game, which the Profs won by a narrow score of 1-0. This time around, Rowan made sure to strike early and often, as senior midfielder Madison DuBois got the scoring started in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
Dubois explained the excitement of opening the game by scoring the first goal in the game.
“It was incredible, it’s something that you think about all the time,” DuBois said. “What if I am the one to get that goal in. What if I can make that big difference in the game and have to just have your best friends and teammates by your side, your support system. It’s hard to put into words the butterflies you feel when you win.”
From this point, TCNJ’s defense would tighten up and the scoring would slow down for the Profs, until the fourth quarter when sophomore Sidney Pavlishin found the back of the net to give Rowan an insurance goal with a little over ten minutes remaining. Pavlishin had good looks all day, as she took seven shots and six of them were on goal.
Two minutes and 26 seconds later, senior forward Cienna Bosher scored to make it a 3-0 game and ultimately put the nail in the coffin for TCNJ.
Unlike last year, where the team rolled through its opponents en route to a 21-2 overall record and an appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament semifinals, this year’s squad scratched and clawed their way to the NJAC title. They overcame a slow 2-2 start to finish with an 11-7 record and saw many people step up throughout the year.
“I thought we played with a lot of grit and a lot of heart,” Andre said. ”We are a team that was resilient throughout the whole season. We have been mixing it up with our lineups and everybody has played a role.”
One of these people who played a big role for the Profs was redshirt freshman goalie Mariah Juiliano, who didn’t see any action until the Profs 3-2 win over Kean University on Oct. 13. Since then, she has been a huge part of the team and really stepped up when they needed her most, as she didn’t allow any goals throughout the tournament.
“I have such an energy boost right now,” Juiliano said. “I am so excited to celebrate with my team. We have been working all week for a win like this and to fight hard to give that extra one percent.”
Rowan will have to wait until 10:30 p.m. on Sunday night to find out who they’ll take on for the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament, as the bracket will be announced on the NCAA’s website.