History making: that term perfectly describes the 2019 men’s soccer season through the eyes of current senior Matt Fahey.
Though things started off a bit shaky, the squad got hot at just the right time, setting several school milestones in the process. Among those were reaching the NJAC finals for the first time in 16 years against the two seed Montclair Red Hawks as well as making it to the NCAA tournament quarterfinals for the first time since 2001.
Out of all of these incredible moments, nothing stuck out more vividly to Fahey than his team’s resilience in the second round game of the NCAA tournament against Mary Washington.
It was November 17 and the game was taking place in Fredericksburg, Virginia. With a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line, there was no holding back.
Just minutes after the opening whistle though, the Profs gave up an early goal, sending them a jarring wake-up call as Mary Washington took the lead 1-0.
Fortunately, a timely throw in by Fahey to midfielder Jake Logar, a freshman at the time, helped lead to a Rowan goal, which tied things up 1-1 at the conclusion of the first half.
The Profs continued to ride that momentum and took a 2-1 lead at the 60 minute mark thanks to a goal from another freshman, Wilby Alfred. Unfortunately, the Profs gave up a big goal late in the second half and forced the game into extra time at 2-2. It was within this extra time that Fahey’s moment took place.
During the second overtime, Fahey was a part of the game winning sequence that led to freshman Jay Vandermark scoring the final goal in the game, and it meant a lot to Fahey. And what added to it was being able to do it for one of their team captains.
“Earlier in the match, we saw Prim [Kevin Primich] go down with an injury,” Fahey said. “He ended up slamming into the left goal post, and you could see his knee was cut open and bloodied. It was really tough to see. Thankfully, we were able to pick up [for] our captain when I dished a breakout pass to Wilby [Alfred] and he beautifully set it up to Jay [Vandermark] for the game-winning goal. I basically got the hockey assist on that one, and I was glad I could help the team finish it off.”
It was that moment that made Fahey’s bond with his teammates, especially senior captains Primach, Modou Sowe and Ryan Logar, even stronger than it was already.
“Over that season, I had really grown close to those guys,” Fahey said. “And it was really difficult to see them all go down like that. With the great example they had set all year long, it meant the world to win it for all of them.”
Though championship glory was not in the cards for the season, the 2019 campaign was a major step forward for the program and Fahey on a personal level. He was ecstatic that his senior teammates could end their Rowan careers on such a high note and hopes for a similar sendoff sometime this academic year. If all goes right, hopefully Fahey’s selfless and team-centric attitude will be rewarded with a fulfilling and fruitful final year.
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