The Rowan women’s soccer team started off the season with high expectations after winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference and making it to the third round of the Division III Championship Tournament in 2015.
The brown and gold are confident, and deservedly so. They only lost two players to graduation and, outside of a few added freshman and transfer students, a majority of last year’s team returned.
Returning players know that it will be easier to play with familiar faces on the field.
“Just losing two, we are very lucky, because we are the same team as last year,” junior forward and captain Melissa Kelly said. “We were very strong last year even though we were young, so everybody coming back is good. We are only going to be getting better with more experience.”
Head coach Scott Leacott spoke about how much easier it is for transfer players to adapt to the style of college play because they have already had experience, unlike freshman who are not used to the schedule and the travels.
To kick off the first two games of the new season, Rowan hosted Emmanuel College and Fredonia as part of the the Profs Soccer Classic.
“Opening day can go either way. You’re either coming out the first fifteen minutes and you’re flying around or you’re very tentative,” Leacott said. “We came out very tentatively. We tried to feel out the other team and just like last year we didn’t do too well the first half [of the game.] We picked it up in the second half.”
Senior forward Maxine New, last year’s leading scorer, picked up where she left off.
The Profs then took full advantage and never looked back, starting their season off right with a 5-0 win.
Newcomer Shannon Reardigan, a transfer from Philadelphia University, had a goal and an assist. Shelby Money was awarded a three-save shutout in the opener.
The team came in more comfortable their second game with a 2-0 decision over Fredonia. Once again, New got the team rolling this time with a penalty kick goal just shy of the 11-minute mark. Reardigan also came in late to give the Profs two more goals.
“Having a lot of returning players helps,” New said. “We only lost two so it still keeps the compatibility of the team and chemistry. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing, do what I did last year and push a little harder and hope to have a better season than last year.”
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