Rowan played to a 2-1 loss against New Jersey Athletic Conference rival and No. 5 Montclair State on Saturday night.
“It’s tough. We’ve got to bury our chances and it’s unfortunate but in the second half we had chances too,” senior captain and midfielder Shane Kohler said. “In a close game like this those little chances we have to put away. We played good enough to win. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Rowan head coach Scott Baker summed up the team’s performance quickly, saying that they “did not play good enough to win.”
The Red Hawks of Montclair state struck first in the 48th minute when Mike Olla snuck the ball by Rowan goalkeeper Kyle Dennis, who had come off of his line to play the ball.
About 11 minutes, freshman center back Will Sjaastad evened things up for the Profs when he took and scored off of a free kick from 25 yards out.
“It was definitely needed to pick up the morale and to get us up and going,” Sjaastad said.
The tie only lasted for another 10 minutes before Montclair State’s Kyle Goodwin finished off a ball that had been deflected by Dennis.
The loss drops the Profs so 10-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
“To be where we want to be we’ve got to take care of these games,” Kohler said. “We just have to move onto the next game I guess”
It should be noted that it was around this time last year that a promising young Rowan team started to see losses pile up on their way to a 4-5 record in October.
“We’ve got to learn from this,” Baker said. “I think we’re a great team and I think we can beat any team in the country, but we have to work harder, we have to play harder, and we have to play the ball in the air.”
The Profs are entering maybe their most important stretch of games this season with five NJAC contests remaining, including games against third placed Kean University and fourth placed Stockton University.
With Rowan sitting alone at sixth in the conference, these upcoming games are of the utmost importance. Games against Williams Patterson University, New Jersey City University and The College of New Jersey will prove crucial as well as the Profs try to distance themselves from the lower ranked teams in the conference.
Sjaastad summed up the importance of the remaining games in four short words.
“Gotta win them all,” Sjaastad said.
Winning the remaining NJAC games would put Rowan at 7-2 in the conference, but with Montclair State currently undefeated in conference play, and Rutgers-Camden only having one loss, the Profs may have to rely on an at-large bid to make it into the NCAA Tournament.