Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
The well known saying from the popular television show Friday Night Lights is a motto that the undefeated Rowan women’s field hockey team has seemed to take very seriously this season.
The Profs finished the regular season 18-0 and dominated their opponents in all facets of the game. However, they know it won’t mean as much if they don’t bring some postseason hardware back to Glassboro.
Their next task starts on Halloween night, when they host fourth seeded Stockton University in the semifinals of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship Tournament.
The team has been well-rounded all season with a steel curtain defense, anchored by junior goalie Morgan Novak and a fast-paced offense that is led by seniors Rachel Galante and Julie Johnson, as well as freshmen Bridget Guinan and Krystyna Hovell, as all four have combined for 60 goals and 35 assists. With the leadership of fourth year head coach Michelle Andre, the Profs look to make a deep run this postseason.
Galante, who knows this is her last chance to go out a champ, doesn’t want to go into this postseason thinking just that, that anything that happens is for the final time.
“I don’t want to look at anything as my ‘last’ right now,” Galante said. “I am happy we have the first seed and I am really happy with how far the team has come and we are really going for it this year.”
The Profs face a stingy Stockton team that went 12-5 this season and 3-3 in conference play. The Ospreys have been a program that has been on the rise in recent years, with some of that attributed to Andre who was at the helm in Galloway from 2009-2014.
Rowan got the best of the Osprey in their only meeting of the season, dominating the contest back on October 3, winning 6-0. Five different Profs scored in that game, as Kristiina Castagnola put two in the back of the box. Novak, who has been a defensive wall this season, didn’t have to do much work in that match-up, only seeing one shot the entire game. The offense owning the time of possession and corner count helped.
The chatter the team displays during games and practices is a big reason as to why the defense as only yielded 14 goals all season.
“We are playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Novak said. “Our communication is key, as each game goes on, we get more comfortable with each other.”
Andre knows no game can be overlooked and that the journey to a championship starts here. Throughout their historic run, the brown and gold have found most success getting out in front early and often, controlling possession and putting pressure on opposing offenses.
“We are preparing to get out in space, preparing to take away what they want,” Andre said. “It’s going to take another group effort, our midfield is playing really really well, we are preparing for the things that we need to do well.”
Rowan handled Stockton, 3-0, to move on to the NJAC Championship Final where they will meet rival TCNJ at 1:00 p.m. at Coach Richard Wackar Stadium this Saturday.
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