Rowan field hockey drops NJAC Playoff game late against TCNJ 4-3

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A seven-game winning streak propelled the Rowan field hockey team to a New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Playoff berth. The Profs claimed the third seed for the postseason and took a trip to second seed The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) on Wednesday night. Statistically on paper, it might be easy to make an assumption that Rowan is a clear underdog in the matchup. They are 0-5 in their last five meetings against the Lions, have scored 16 less goals while playing two more games than TCNJ and give up a little over a goal per game compared to TCNJ’s less than one allowed per game.

Despite all of this, the brown and gold are prepared for a deep playoff run and ready to take on the Lions in hopes of snapping their personal losing streak.

“We are pretty excited,” said junior forward and team captain Rachel Galante. “Me personally, junior year, this is going to be my sixth time playing TCNJ which is pretty unheard of. Every year I go in saying the same thing that we got them this time, but this time it’s game over.”

The postseason would regularly indicate that every result that came within the regular season serves as irrelevant. For head coach Michelle Andre, the past has proven to be a learning lesson that has brought the team to where they are today.

“What I’m taking is what we learned from those results,” Andre said. “Yes, we can’t have where we are at right now without that all happening. Was I disappointed at that time when everything happened? Yes, but now as I look back on it in hindsight, I’m happy with where we are at right now so I just move forward.”

It’s different for Galante, though. The impact that the regular season brought to the team, even including the winning streak, has just made them hungry for success.

“For us, it’s more of a clean slate because our record doesn’t represent who we are at all,” Galante said. “I think that if you sat in the stands and you watched us play all the games we lost, you’d probably think ‘Wow, how did they not win that?’ My team has so much heart and it’s going to show. We are going to make it clear and show who we are. We are hungry.”

Andre said in the beginning of the season that this year in the NJAC would be a tough one, and she was right. Four teams won 13 or more games and lost less than five. Two teams went 5-1 in the conference with two others going 4-2, Rowan being one of them.

“How right was I?” Andre said. “I expected the conference to beat up on each other and that’s essentially what happened. These are do-or-die games and every team plays like that. So, anything can happen and I think that’s where the conference is. It’s one of the best nationally and this is what happens when you go into it.”

TCNJ took the contest that served to be a tight one every minute that was played. Down 3-2 with just under 20 minutes left, Caroline Quinn scored for the Lions. A late goal right before the 65th minute by TCNJ’s Tori Tiefenthaler gave them a 4-3 lead and eventually proved to be the winner. Tiefenthaler had the first and last goals of the game for TCNJ. For Rowan, Nikki Kotelnicki, Julie Johnson and Galante scored.

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