Rowan field hockey faces must-win NJAC games to end the season

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It was a rocky start to conference play, but it looks as if the Rowan field hockey team has found its footing and is ready to make some noise in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

Following losses to No. 17 ranked Kean University and The College of New Jersey, the brown and gold found themselves in the basement of the conference standings. However, a 6-0 win against Ramapo College gave the Profs there first NJAC win of the season.

The scoring output tied the team’s season high.

“Any win is a confidence boost, but I think we expected to do what we did,” head coach Michelle Andre said. “We were able to work on some things throughout that game, which is a good thing.”

The Profs took a break from their conference schedule on Wednesday night when they faced off against Stevens Institute of Technology.

“I think it’s good to have a game like that,” junior goalkeeper Carly DeMarco said. “If we do need to fix anything, we can do it in this game.”

The Profs were able to defeat the Ducks 1-0 behind a goal by junior defender/midfielder Abbie Tucker.

“It’s treated like a conference game. We treat every game like it’s a conference game,” freshman forward Bridget Boyle said. “It’s okay if it’s a game where we fix stuff, but the most important thing is coming out with a win. Especially since we fell short in two of our conference games already.”

Following the win against Ramapo on Oct. 7, the brown and gold moved to 1-2 in conference play, tying them with William Paterson for fourth place.

With only four games remaining on the schedule, things are starting to get tight for the Profs. When taken into account that three of those four are in the conference, things get tighter. Add to the fact that only the top four teams in the NJAC standings advance to the conference tournament, there might be a vice grip around this team.

“They’re pretty important games especially since we lost to Kean and fell short to TCNJ,” DeMarco said. “We really have to pick it up and make sure we win them.”

On paper, the advantage should be leaning in the Profs’ direction.

Of their remaining conference opponents, No. 18 ranked Montclair State, William Paterson and Stockton, the brown and gold have the best goals allowed average and the best scoring average. DeMarco also has the best save percentage in the NJAC.

“Any conference game is big, but we kind of put ourselves in this position where those are must haves,” Andre said. “Yes, they would be big wins, but for me, I take it a day at a time.”

As of Wednesday night, TCNJ (3-0) holds the lead in the NJAC. Kean (2-0) is second with Montclair (2-1) holding third. Rowan and William Paterson are locked in at the four spot with a 1-2 conference record, while Stockton and Ramapo are tied at 0-2.

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