Volleyball begins home stand with tough loss, host Gold Rush and Youth Night on Friday

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Tough times don’t last. Tough people do, and the Rowan volleyball team is a prime example.

The profs seemed to be finding their stride with a 2-0 start in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), only to be hit with back-to-back losses against Stockton and Kean to bring them to .500 in the conference. This past weekend, the brown and gold split their two games at the Eastern Invitational, being swept by the hosts in the first of two on Saturday and defeating Messiah College 3-1 later in the day. 

“We looked back at what we messed up on,” said sophomore hitter Kailey Gallagher. “We made our mistakes our strengths, and in the last game we battled with our strengths.”

With the much-needed win to stop a three-game losing streak, Rowan seemed to remember the trail that they had set out upon to begin the season.

“We talked about a couple of things going into the match, and I think we forgot our way a little bit,” said head coach Deana Jespersen. “We talked a little bit about what are our intentions are and what we are trying to get out of this, because against Eastern and Stockton, we forgot why we’re doing this.”

Those two match-ups against the Eagles and Osprey ended in 3-0 sweeps, with the Profs unable to hit the 20-point mark in two of the six total sets played.

Despite the rough tail-end to the road trip, the brown and gold keep their eyes on the playoffs and an NJAC title. From the beginning of the season, they’ve had their head down, fighting for what that ultimate goal. 

“We want to win an NJAC title,” Jespersen said. “We want to win in the playoffs and we want home court advantage.

Rowan now has three straight games at home, using the energy of the fans and the feel for the court to their advantage.

“All of our home games we have being one of our advantages,” Gallagher said. “We’re used to playing on this court, giving us home court advantage. All of our fans are there. It’s just like a sigh of relief.”

The first of three came against Montclair State University which ended in absolute heartbreak for the Profs. The brown and gold took the first set 25-20, fell in the second set 25-23, won the third 25-21 and then lost the fourth 25-20 to send the game to a pivotal fifth set. Rowan went ahead 10-6 after a pair of kills from junior hitter Jamie Shirtz, but a 6-2 run from Montclair tied the game at 12-all. Both teams scored a point each to bring it to 13-all, but an attack error from the Red Hawks brought the Profs to a 14-13 lead, needing one more point to win. That would not be the case, as Montclair scored three consecutive to win 16-14.

Rowan falls to 2-3 in the NJAC and 9-10 overall, with their next matchup coming against Cabrini University on Friday at 6 p.m. in Esby Gym. The Profs will be celebrating Gold Rush and Youth Night as they try to get back in the groove of things.

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