Rowan Women’s Soccer’s Season Still Success Despite Their NJAC Finals Loss

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Rowan's women's soccer team in a huddle in an earlier NJAC Playoff game. The team would end their season with a 15-4-1 record. October 30, 2021. - Multimedia Editor / Nick Feldman

In a year of uncertainty and yearning to get back on the field, the Rowan University women’s soccer team surpassed their season expectations as they came together and played as a team for the first time since 2019. 

To begin the season, the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) women’s soccer preseason poll predicted that Rowan would rank No. 3. Not only did the Profs finish third in the conference before the playoffs, they took down Montclair State University in the NJAC Championship Semifinals, and tied with the No. 1 ranked team, TCNJ, in the finals, but fell just short in penalty kicks. 

Despite the disappointing end to the season with a loss in the NJAC Championship Finals, Rowan women’s soccer had a successful season. 

Senior midfielder and Captain Beth Sansone reflected on the season and the fight that the Profs had on the field. 

“I felt that as a group we got stronger as the season went on, especially in the final two weeks of the season,” Sansone said. “We put some good soccer together and with that I was proud of how everyone developed. Also, the players really gave it their all in the NJAC final. Everyone played with tons of heart. You couldn’t ask for more.”

The Profs finished with a 15-4-1 record, and went 7-2 in NJAC play, while dominating at home, boasting a 10-1 record. Along with a winning record, Rowan scored 38 goals this season, averaged just under two goals per game, took 14.7 shots per game and averaged a 0.502 shots on goal percentage.

Rowan filled up the stat sheet, while also only giving up 14 goals all season long, as their defense was a key factor in numerous wins.

Arianna Durling, a senior defender and captain, discusses why the defense was so strong this season for the Profs. 

“A key reason why I believe our defense was so strong this season was our chemistry. Bristol [Pizzuto], Kelsi [Stangl], Kalin [Priest] and myself have played together for the past few years which definitely put us at an advantage,” Durling said. “Emma [DeMaise] came and fit right in on the field as well and proved her strong talent as a young player. We all connect very well together and proved to keep getting stronger as the season progressed. All of the defenders were leaders which helped motivate the rest of the team as well.” 

In a team riddled with freshmen and seniors, the chemistry never wavered, as freshmen were included in the strong backline of the Profs and were leaders in the offensive unit as well. 

Freshman Emma DeMaise was second in the team with four goals, behind Aidan Sheehan, a fifth-year senior, who led the team with 10 goals. 

“One word to describe this season would be all heart. I could just see how bad people on my team wanted to win and leave it all out on the field. Our last game was an emotional one, but we got to that point together,” Durling said. “We all leaned on each other and picked each other up. I have friendships on this team that I know will last forever and this program has truly made a lasting impact on me.” 

Although a loss in the finals was a heartbreaking moment for the Profs, just a few days prior Rowan took on Montclair State in the semifinals and came out victorious. Sansone described this as her favorite moment of the season. 

“It is hard to choose a favorite moment from the season, however, one that stood out from the rest was when the referee blew the final whistle in the NJAC semifinals for us to advance to the tournament’s next round,” Sansone said. “We all worked so hard and never stopped fighting in that game, we played for each other.”

Durling was on the same page as Sansone.

“My favorite moment of the season would have to be beating Montclair in the semifinals of the NJAC tournament. In the preseason poll, we were projected to finish third in the NJAC which is where we ended up in the rankings,” Durling said. “After losing to Montclair in regular season, we went back to their field for the semi’s and came out on top which brought us to the championship. It was a hard fought game but we proved how much we wanted it.” 

Although the Profs lost in penalty kicks 5-4 in the NJAC finals, and did not receive a bid for the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, Rowan women’s soccer team has a young core and an experienced coaching staff that will be ready to take on next season. 

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