The phrase “always save the best for last” can be applied to almost any category of life, whether it is about desserts or in entertainment.
In this case, it is athletics. And that is just what the No. 10 ranked Rowan women’s soccer team did with their final regular-season opponent.
Coming off a 5-1 victory over Ramapo College on Sunday, Oct. 23, the brown and gold were set to face off against No. 5 The College of New Jersey to close out the season.
Prior to the game with the undefeated Lions, head coach Scott Leacott spoke highly of the opposition, saying that it seems to be them that the Profs match up with late in the schedule.
“They’re very quick. They pressure the ball and can counter you very, very fast,” Leacott said. “We’ve got to limit their time in space. If we don’t limit their time in space, they can chew us apart basically. We’re very similar in that respect.”
A quick look at the New Jersey Athletic Conference statistics will show that the two teams are more similar than Leacott let on.
TCNJ and Rowan are in the top three of the conference when it comes to shots, points, goals and shutouts. The game was set to be a gladiator match.
In terms of their play on Wednesday night unfortunately, the Profs did not save their best for last. The Lions showed to be the better team and handed Rowan its first loss of the season, shutting out the brown and gold, 2-0.
It was only the second time the Profs were held scoreless all season.
“It’s a good rivalry game,” Leacott said prior to the contest. “We’ve got to understand that this isn’t the last game we’re playing so it’s not the end all.”
The Lions were the only ranked team on the Profs’ schedule. The result is something that might worry fans of the team going forward.
However, the head coach is not so concerned.
“We’ve played some very tough teams,” Leacott said. “One thing about our conference is that it’s very hard to get ranked because our top six teams are very good teams. It’s a battle each and every weekend. We don’t pay attention to rankings. The only rankings that matter to us are at the end of the year.”
In addition to ending Rowan’s hopes of an undefeated season, TCNJ also crushed the possibility of the Profs having home-field advantage throughout the tournament.
Even though the regular season is now over, the postseason is set to begin. The Profs secured the second seed and a first-round bye; Rowan has earned a spot in the NJAC Championship Tournament every season since 2003.
“I think it’s just the tone that the girls set for each other on and off the field,” senior defender Rebecca Fasano said. “Every year we come out and we work really, really hard and it’s also training on your own and every day.”
The Profs now have the luxury of having time off. They can sit and watch as the other teams battle it out for the right to face them in Glassboro for the semifinal round of the conference tournament. The team should know their opponent by the end of the weekend.
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