Rowan Field Hockey Heads to the NCAA Division III Final Four

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Rowan's Bridget Guinan taking the ball up field during the NCAA Division III third round matchup. Guinan would have one of the three goals on Sunday that would take Rowan to the NCAA Division III Final Four. Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. - Staff Photographer / Lee Kotzen

It is two down, two to go for the Rowan University field hockey team after they defeated Washington and Lee University in the third round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Championship Tournament 3-0 on Sunday, Nov. 13.

The Profs entered the game coming off of a 2-1 win over Ohio Wesleyan University just the day before. It didn’t take them long to use the momentum from their previous victory to get a head start over the Generals, as freshman forward Julia Patrone scored a goal six minutes into the game.

Head Coach Michelle Andre knew it was crucial to get a lead early over the previously undefeated Washington and Lee. 

“I was glad it happened as quick as it did let me tell you,” Coach Andre said. “But it was really important to kind of set the momentum and put Washington back on their heels right away.”

What followed in the half was a back and forth battle, with both teams getting chances on each other’s sides of the field as they traded off breaking through the midfield. However, Washington & Lee only got one shot on goal in the first half, which, ultimately, was their only successful shot on goal all game.

Coach Andre continues to feel astonishment towards the defense and their play coming out of every game.

“We’ve really grown back there. It’s become such a strength of ours,” Coach Andre said. “It’s just, I mean… they were amazing.”

The second half started off on the same foot as the first, with another goal coming in for the Profs quickly after junior forward Krystyna Hovell, in her typical position on the left side of the net, cleaned up a loose shot that trickled toward her off of Patrone’s stick.

Rowan’s confidence built after picking up the insurance goal with less than 30 minutes to play. Washington and Lee, while down, were not ready to sit back, and made Rowan work for entry into their defensive zone with battles for the ball in midfield for the rest of the penultimate quarter.

In the final slate, Rowan got past Washington and Lee’s stifling attempts to score the third, and last, the goal of the night off of a hard drive from junior midfielder Bridget Guinan. 

The final buzzer of the game served as the Profs’ signal of taking down their highly anticipated third-round opponent and also their entry into the NCAA semifinals, dubbed ‘The Final Four’.

Patrone, who had a goal and an assist on the night, is happy to make it this far her freshman year.

“It’s so exciting, especially being my first year here,” Patrone said. “It feels really good.”

Coach Andre commends Washington and Lee’s tough game they brought with them to Glassboro.

“Hats off for Washington. They’re a really good team,” Coach Andre said. “They played us really well, (we) had trouble breaking through. Their defense did a nice job on us.”

Helping them through Washington and Lee’s formidable play was the home fans at Coach Richard Wackar Stadium. Rowan was the host of the second and third-round games of the tournament and was a big help in pushing the Profs towards victory. 

“I’ve been around a long time. There’s such an advantage to being able to play at home and on your surface… and just… for the girls to be in their own environment,” Coach Andre said. 

Next week will take Rowan out of their own environment. They will travel to Hartford, CT to take on No. 1 ranked Middlebury University in the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 20.

Now going into the semifinals, it is where the action really happens Coach Andre explained.

“Now, the real fun begins.”

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