After two ties, men’s soccer is ready for rival Montclair State

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Ties have made thier way into sports history.

Harvard and Yale finished in a 29-29 tie in 1968.

Bud Selig infamously declared the 2002 Major League Baseball All-Star Game to end in a tie after both the American and National League teams ran out of players in the 11th inning.

The National Hockey League had ties until 2005, as they opted for shootouts after the 2004-05 NHL lockout.

Ties, however, are quite common in soccer and that has been the story for Rowan, especially in their two previous games.

The Profs played to a 2-2 overtime tie against Haverford University on Wednesday.

They then began their New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) schedule against William Paterson University on Saturday, which ended in a 1-1 tie.

Junior Matt Hendrickson delivered the two goals against Haverford, including the equalizer. Those were Hendrickson’s first two goals of the season after being out with an injury.

“The season started not the way that I wanted it to,” Hendrickson said. “I had an injury and wasn’t able to play, so for me to be able to get into my first game back and to be able to find the rhythm of the game and get my first two goals of the season definitely felt like a monkey was lifted off my back and I’m excited to get some more [goals].”

As for the ties, Hendrickson expected a better outcome.

“We expected to win both games and, unfortunately, the ball just didn’t bounce our way,” Hendrickson said. “We put it on ourselves and we’re fully ready to bounce back better for.”

Coach Scott Baker had a different view on the ties, not surprised in the least by the occurrence.

Praising the play of both Haverford and William Paterson, he pointed out to the team’s tie against The University of Chicago, who was ranked #7 when Rowan played them.

While he wasn’t surprised at the results, Baker isn’t making any excuses.

“We need to play at a higher level if we’re going to do the things that we say we’re going to do,” Baker said. “But, I’m definitely not surprised. These are good teams and it’s not easy to beat them and you need to have a really good game.”

The goals he referenced, of course, are an NJAC victory and a national tournament appearance.

As NJAC competition has opened up, Baker feels that the team’s level of play has a lot left to be desired. He believes what they have done so far this season is good, but being good isn’t enough if you want repeated victories. 

“We haven’t competed at the level that it takes to beat teams and we’ve had parts in the game where we have and we were lucky enough to make something happen during those times with all of our games this year,” Baker said. “But our guys aren’t yet competing with the intensity, with the focus; they’re not working at the level that we need them to in order to beat the best teams in the country, so what we have done is good, but being good does not win championships and we want to win championships, so we got to raise our level.”

Rowan is set to play their first NJAC home game of the season against Montclair State University.

This will be their first matchup since Oct. 30 of last year, when Montclair State eliminated Rowan in the NJAC semis.

Hendrickson, a former Montclair State player, expects to topple his old team.

“We expect a win and nothing less,” Hendrickson said. “We’re going to come out, ready to play; the physical aspect, the soccer aspect, every aspect of the game, we’re going to come out and dominate them.”

Baker expects the game to be a hard fought and physical battle given the magnitude of the rivalry. He is aware that everybody has their own motivation heading into the matchup but expects the team to use the game as a way to get improve as the season progresses.

“As a team, we just have to take this next opportunity as we have taken all the other [games] as this is a great chance to become better as a team, to grab a win, and to just continue on the path to be our best by the end of the season,” Baker said.

Hendrickson downplayed the emotional aspect that the matchup has to offer.

“There’s always emotions in NJAC play, especially when you’re playing one of your biggest rivals like Montclair State,” Hendrickson said. “But we’re focused on what we have to do and we’re ready to come get the job done; that’s in the past and we know it so if [Montclair State] want to use that, they can but we’re focused on this year and doing what we have to do.”

#20 Rowan will be on home turf this Saturday at 7 p.m. as they host Montclair State University in the first of their two-game homestand.

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