The tournament that the Rowan women’s soccer team has been working towards all season is finally here and the team is ready to make a statement and to try to win it all.
The New Jersey Athletic Conference tournament kicked off last Saturday with the first round of play and already the Profs showed that they are postseason ready by winning their first game of the playoffs.
As the number four seed in the tournament, Rowan had home field advantage in their game against number five seed William Paterson, who they beat in a shutout 2-0. Senior Captain Daria Jones scored both goals in the victory that advanced the Profs to the semifinals of the tournament.
The next round of play does not look to be an easy one though, because for the semifinals, they will be facing the number one seed in the tournament The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), who has only lost one game this season.
In this matchup, Rowan is going into the game as the clear underdog, but Jones does not think of this as a bad thing.
“I love the underdog mentality,” Jones said. “The pressure is off you, the only thing you have to do is work hard and try and I think that is honestly what this team needs, just to get out from being under pressure, get out of your heads and just play.”
This will not be the first matchup against TCNJ this season though. They played their conference rivals in their last game of the regular season and while they might have lost that game 3-0, Coach Scott Leacott knows that this time around it is going to be different.
“We know what they are going to do, we sat back against them a lot last game because we knew were playing Saturday and that result really didn’t affect where we stood, we were going to be the fourth seed no matter what, so we held some of our players back because we needed them for the playoffs,” Leacott said. “So they are going to see a little bit different side from us, we’re not going to hold back, we are going to push a little bit more forward, we’re going to get into the offense a little bit more, we’re going to attack a little bit more and I think that is going to be the biggest difference, they are going to expect the same thing from us, we know what to expect from them, so they’re going to get a little bit of a change.”
The team’s strategy is not the only thing that will be different in the second game between them, because it is a playoff game and Jones knows that brings out a whole new side out of everyone involved in the game.
“You can just tell it is different, I think everyone just feels it more,” Jones said. “You know that everything matters, if you don’t win, you don’t play, so just the mentality is so focused, so concentrated, it’s exciting and it is awesome and you can just feel it, it is great.”
The rest of the team also understand how big the steaks of this game is and that is why Leacott knows the team is ready for this game.
“We really understand that our season could be over with the next lose, so they are highly motivated to keep it going, that is one of the staples of our program,” Leacott said. “The first championship you could win the conference championship and then the NCAA, getting into that tournament and competing for a national title. This year, we can’t compete for a national title unless we win the conference, so we really have to take care of business and hopefully move on to the next game.”
Despite the positivity and optimism, the Profs lost to TCNJ Wednesday night by a score of 2-0.
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