Converting on buzzer-beaters and late go-ahead scores are what athletes young and old dream about.
Unless you are on the Rowan women’s lacrosse team, those pressure-packed opportunities are usually hard to come by.
The Profs were able to defeat New Jersey Athletic Conference foe Kean University on Saturday by a score of 14-13 thanks to a last-second goal by freshman attack Jess Havers.
The team found themselves down 9-7 at halftime before making a comeback in the second half. With 24 seconds left in the game, freshman midfielder Mikala Gillespie found the back of the net to tie things up at 13. She assisted on the game-winning goal 20 seconds later.
“We got down pretty good,” said head coach Lindsay Delaney said. “Offensively we haven’t been able to feel like a threat and act like a threat for 60 minutes. When we started shooting the ball, really shooting the ball, we came back from a four-goal deficit.”
The victory was one of three games this season — the others being against SUNY Fredonia on March 18 and Stockton University on April 12 — in which Rowan was able to score the game-winning goal with under a minute left.
“Coach looked at me and said ‘Jess, get the ball,’” Havers said. “I was wide open and as soon as I got it, I had to shoot. I just kind of shot and it went right between [the goalie’s] legs.”
For Delaney, the win was never in doubt. She noted that junior midfielder Ali Herbert scoring seven goals on nine shots as proof of that. Herbert had nine goals and 19 attempts going into the game.
With the win against Kean, and a 16-6 win against Rutgers-Camden, the brown and gold were able to get back on the winning track after being shut out by New Jersey Athletic Conference rival TCNJ, who is ranked No. 2 in the nation, on April 19, 9-0. More importantly, they took a firm hold on the second place spot in the NJAC standings. Delaney knows just how important the second seed is, especially with only one game left on the schedule.
“Any win right now is a good win or a big win because everything matters and everything is putting us in position for the NJAC Tournament,” Delaney said.
She also said that the team had to play tournament games on the road for the past two years and how important it was to put opponents away so that the team can put themselves in a better position for next Wednesday night.
Standing in Rowan’s way, however, is Ramapo College.
The team is a basement dweller of the NJAC, but they rank better than the Profs in most of the offensive statistical categories.
Last year the brown and gold downed the team by a score of 24-7. Despite the disparity, Havers knows not to take any team too lightly.
“Kean was ranked lower than us and so was Stockton and they were really close games so you never know,” Havers said. “They know that they need to beat us and that’s their only goal, so you have to keep out for that.”
Even though the regular season’s slate of games is winding down, Delaney is not looking ahead and believes that there is still room for her team, one that boasts 18 underclassmen, to learn and improve.
“We’re not playing well enough to do that right now. It’s going to be a grind every game,” Delaney said. “We have not achieved anything yet. There is nothing we’ve done that we can go and take a deep breath.”
“We’re still learning and figuring things out.”
For questions/comments about this story, email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @TheWhitSports.