The Rowan men’s soccer team was faced with their first true test of adversity on Oct. 15 when they traveled to Rutgers-Newark and were defeated 3-1 by the Scarlet Raiders.
It was just the third time this season that the team was held to one or fewer goals on offense.
It was also the Profs’ first loss of the season — a game in which the brown and gold did not play their best. Rowan was handed six yellow cards throughout the game, giving them a season total of 35 and continuing their pattern of being the most penalized team in the New Jersey Athletic Conference. When the games become more crucial it will be imperative that the team plays cleaner, smarter soccer.
“It will not affect our confidence, it will only get us to focus and increase our confidence,” head coach Scott Baker said. “We didn’t leave the field feeling we were an inferior team, we felt like we gave an inferior effort.”
It has been a one-game-at-a-time approach all season long for the Profs and the focus of the team will not change after one loss. With the NJAC and NCAA tournament looming, the small, but bitter taste of defeat could be a blessing in disguise to get the team focused and reassured of the task in front of them.
“Our plan is never to lose a game, but we want to respond in a positive manner and let it get us to a higher level,” Baker said.
Following the loss to Rutgers-Newark, the brown and gold responded with a dominating 12-0 shutout victory over Brooklyn College on Monday. With 10 players scoring in the contest, it was a total team effort. Sophomore forwards Burak Ozdemir and Zack Sakena both found the back of the net more than once, each tallying two goals a piece.
“We want to make sure everyone gets a chance to play,” Baker said. “To get everybody into the game is the best feeling.”
“We definitely know that we played bad, but we had to pick it up and we scored 12 goals,” junior forward Travis Ward said. “It shows we just got right back on pace.”
Monday’s game was Senior Night for the Profs and the team did a good job sending their two four-year players off in style. Captain forward Vinny Ignatowicz and defender Shane Patterson both found the back of the net on their big night.
“It’s awesome, no other senior class has done that for a while,” Patterson said.
While the possibility of an undefeated season is now gone, the focus for the squad will not change. One loss has not affected anything for the brown and gold. Every game is a steppingstone to what really matters and determines the success of the season.
“We are a family and are very comfortable with each other, and staying loose and confident is our key,” Ward said. “The undefeated season would have been very nice to have, but the main goal is to win the national championship.”
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