After a disappointing 9-23 season in 2016, the Rowan women’s volleyball team has improved in the win column this year, with four games still to play.
In the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), the top six teams make the Championship Tournament. Rowan stands as the last seed as of now, but this could all change on Tuesday as they travel to William Patterson, who claim the seventh spot. If the Profs win, they’re in and can take the fifth or sixth seed. If they lose, well, the season comes to a sudden stop.
“I’m preparing that we’re going on because I don’t want to prepare the other way,” said head coach Deana Jespersen.
For the young Rowan team, a lot of players are experiencing this end-of-the-season push for the first time. How young is the team? Well, 10 of the 15 women on the roster are underclassmen, with five being freshman.
The fourth year head coach is worried about the energy and drive the team possesses as the playoff picture could quickly slip out of grasp. A few weeks ago, the playoff picture was looking clear, but after a rough few games, the picture has blurred.
“I don’t know where we are,” Jespersen said. “We started off the season with a hunger and a drive and a sense of focus about us. The past few weeks as we hit our rough patch, we kind of lost our way a little bit.”
For senior captain Gina Kisley, this just feels as if the team is trying to get on the right path, bringing a lighter look onto the game that lies ahead.
“I would say we’re on our way to getting prepared,” Kisley said. “A lot of us are from North Jersey so we’re going to have a big fan base there which will be good.”
Even with the confidence from Kisley, Jespersen still seems worried about the current state of the team.
“I don’t know where they are mentally and I’m hoping over the next week they figure out what they want,” Jespersen said. “If you can’t tell, I’m a little frustrated.”
One thing has stayed consistent for the team throughout the year and can be said in just a single word from Jerspersen: win.
The team stayed true to Jespersen’s word with a win against William Paterson University on Tuesday night, securing their spot in the playoffs. Rowan swept the Pioneers 3-0 and improved to 12-16 for the year and 4-4 in the conference to take the fifth seed in the NJAC Championship Tournament.
The Profs head to Rochester this weekend for the New York Regional Challenge.
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