If you showed up late to the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championship between the second-seeded Rowan women’s soccer team and top-seeded The College of New Jersey on Saturday night, you may have missed all of the action.
Four minutes into the game, sophomore defender Maddie Williscroft found the back of the net off a Maxine New corner kick. It was the deciding goal in the Profs capturing their second straight NJAC title and third in program history, knocking off the Lions, 1-0.
Not a bad time to register the first score of your college career.
“Honestly [New] played a perfect ball, like she always does, and I was in the right place,” Williscroft said. “It’s really great that I can say that [it was my first goal], but it was such a team effort. Everyone gave everything they had.”
The argument could be made that after that moment, No. 5 ranked TCNJ dominated the rest of the game.
Looking solely at statistics, it would be hard to guess that the Lions were shut out for the first time this year. They totaled 18 shots during the game compared with the brown and gold’s five. TCNJ also had five corner kicks versus Rowan’s two.
However, one thing that the Lions didn’t have on their side was the NJAC Goalkeeper of the Year. That honor belongs to sophomore Shelby Money of Rowan.
Money made eight saves for the game on the way to the team’s school record-breaking 16th shutout of the year. Late in the game, the Rowan fans began chanting the goalkeeper’s name after each stop she made.
“It was a huge confidence boost. When I make a save or I hit a ball away, they yell automatically,” Money said. “With me having that higher confidence level, it makes me communicate with the defense better, which makes them more confident. They tell the midfield and it goes to the forwards, just all the way up.”
The season has been remarkable for the brown and gold.
Besides breaking the shutout record from 1999 and 2015, the Profs are one win away from tying the win-total mark set in 2009. The team had seven players selected to the All-Conference teams.
The win also marked the first time the Profs have beaten TCNJ in Ewing, New Jersey.
“We’ve had three or four ties, but we’ve never beaten them [there],” head coach Scott Leacott said. “I’d say it adds the sweetness onto it, but when you have a group of student athletes like we do who just pour everything into it, I knew we had a great chance.”
With the victory, No. 23 ranked Rowan receives the NJAC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Championship tournament.
The team had the automatic bid in the tournament last year as well and hosted the first round. They managed to beat Lasell College and Lynchburg College before getting derailed by Messiah College in the third round.
“Our thing is to celebrate tonight and then get our minds right for NCAA’s,” Money said.
“It makes our rest a little easier,” Leacott said. “We’re used to it. I think we missed one out of the last 13 years for the NCAA tournament so we’re ready. We’ll be prepared.”
The brown and gold will find out who their first-round situation during the DIII selection show on Monday at 1:30 p.m.
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