The No. 3 ranked Rowan men’s soccer team found themselves entrenched in an extremely physical shootout on Oct. 8 against Montclair State University. In total, eight cards were given out, two of them being red cards toward the Redhawks.
Despite the circumstances, the Profs fought there way to earn a 4-3 come-from-behind victory on the road over Montclair. Junior forward Travis Ward powered the team back with a hat trick.
“I try to keep my head, I know I’m going to get hit and banged up a little bit, but I thrive off that stuff,” Ward said. “I like the challenge, it brings me to a higher level.”
Wednesday night the Profs hosted Rutgers-Camden and performed in front of a packed house.
The brown and gold hung on to win, 2-1, with goals coming from forward Shane Doherty and midfielder Jake Conners. Both teams were very physical yet again, which should not be a surprise, since the Profs lead the conference with 277 fouls.
Despite the constant whistles, it has been a pretty dominant season thus far for the Profs, who hold a 12-0-1 record.
With Rowan being the top team in the NJAC, opponents have come out and played extremely tough and have given the team their all. In many cases, the only way to compete with this squad is to try to rough them up.
“When teams come out and play us with that hard play and that fast play it pushes us to play our game even better,” head coach Scott Baker said. “It’s when teams sit in that makes it a little tough for us at times.”
Throughout the entire season, Ward has been the brightest star on a team full of talented players. Ward reached 10 goals on the season against Montclair and has five assists overall. He has entered the games throughout this season with a mindset different than ever before: to be the best at all times. His new adjustment has allowed him to become a more complete player.
“My teammates, all of them, and of course the coaching staff have all had a big part of my success,” Ward said. “The team has found me the ball in the right areas. Coach has been driving home to me to be the hardest working player on the field and everything will come.”
As the season pushes forward, the schedule continues to get tougher with conference games against Rutgers-Newark, Ramapo and The College of New Jersey still ahead. The team will have to bring an effort similar to the last two games in each of the final four contests.
The defense has been a minor concern lately, allowing four goals in their last two games, after only conceding eight through the first 11.
“We just need to fix a couple of little things on defense, we just gotta work a little harder” sophomore defender Will Sjaastad said.
It ultimately boils down to the team staying focused. As shown by their record, if the Profs show up ready to play, there are not many teams in the country that can challenge them.