Rowan volleyball’s current seniors Natalie Ogden and Cassidy Abdalla hoped to continue their volleyball careers at the collegiate level after graduating from major Pennsylvania high schools in 2018. Both athletes had successful high school careers.
Ogden, played for the Bishop Shanahan High Eagles, while Abdalla played for Mount Saint Joseph Academy Magic.
Now the two are helping lead a team that currently sits atop of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) as they head into the playoffs.
Rowan’s team as a whole is becoming known as a volleyball powerhouse. Their previous two seasons landed them NJAC semi-finals game in 2018 and the NJAC Championship game in 2019.
In the most recent NCAA Division III Volleyball rankings, Rowan currently stands at third in Region IV, just behind NYU and Stevens.
“I remember talking our sophomore year saying that it would actually be crazy to be ranked, that hadn’t happened in Rowan Volleyball history,” Abdalla said. “Now to be ranked third in the region, it’s just crazy.”
Despite a 3-2 loss to Messiah College this past weekend at the Desales Quad Tournament, Rowan remained positive and went undefeated the rest of the tournament defeating SUNY Canton and host Desales University in straight sets.
They managed to do this past weekend and all season with the help of their freshmen.
“We’re happy with all of our freshmen, they’re really playing well,” Abdalla said. “It’s just amazing to see how confident the freshmen came in and it kind of eased our worries because obviously freshmen come in nervous but the way they come onto the court, radiating confidence and positivity, it’s really nice for the team.”
If Rowan keeps up their hot streak and wins all their remaining contests they can finish the season 27-5, which is eight more wins than they had in their 2019 campaign.
As for the Profs coaching staff, former Prof herself Emma Cormican is at the helm as Head Coach, Deana Jespersen, is still recovering from her breast cancer treatment. Above all, the seniors want to win for their coach as she has been a remarkable coach, friend, and supporter by showing up and being a Rowan fan even when she is unable to coach.
“Ever since she’s become the head coach here, she’s been building up this team for what it is and has been reshaping our culture and everything and she’s been doing a great job,” Ogden said. “If we win this (the NJAC Championship) it would be so amazing to see her hard work pay off finally. We’re definitely doing it for Deana.”
Abdalla shared similar feelings as her teammate.
“She came to Desales on Saturday just to watch us, she wasn’t able to coach but just seeing her in person was amazing and at one point she was trying to coach me from the sidelines and it was really funny but obviously her advice helped,” Abdalla said. “She said it was really hard for her to step down because of her surgery. We’re like now you’re obviously our priority and we’re going to do this for you, we’re going to make sure you don’t have to spend any extra energy worrying about us and we’ve just been winning for her.”
As the regular season winds down, Abdalla and Ogden remain humble and appreciative as they await an opportunity to take home the NJAC Championship.
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