On Wednesday night, Rowan will travel some 19 miles to take on New Jersey Athletic Conference opponent Rutgers-Camden.
Both teams are coming into the game with excellent records, the Profs at 8-1, 1-0 in NJAC play, while the Scarlet Raptors of Rutgers-Camden are 7-1-1, and 2-0 in the conference. Both teams are also ranked in the D3soccer.com poll, Rowan being No. 25 and Rutgers-Camden being No. 17. However, if you were to ask Rowan head coach Scott Baker, those numbers don’t matter.
“Rankings are where people think teams are that aren’t inside the team. They don’t know what we have or what Camden has. They can’t compare that,” Baker said. “This point in the season its more drama. The way to affect rankings is to keep winning. That’s outside of our concern right now.”
The game will feature three of the top four point scorers in the conference in Rowan freshman forward Shane Doherty and Rutgers-Camden seniors Mike Ryan and Connor Hurff.
“Our plan is to make any team defend us and stop us, but those type of players, Mike Ryan type of players, if you base the game plan on stopping them, you’ll be disappointed,” Baker said. “We have a better chance going with what’s been working and dictating play from that point of view.”
While it will be an NJAC game, junior captain Vinny Ignatowicz doesn’t think the team will do anything different.
“It’ll be emotional,” Ignatowicz said. “We know who they have, and we know what we have, so we’re going to try to exploit that and play our style.”
Rowan has averaged close to four goals a game and will be looking to keep that pace against the Scarlet Raptors, who have only allowed eight goals all season.
“A lot of things that we’ve been doing have been working and we don’t want to go too far away from that,” Baker said. “We want to do what we’ve been doing, but at a higher level.”
The young Profs will have to step up against Rutgers-Camden, who feature a roster with 23 non-freshmen, 13 of them being upperclassmen. In comparison, Rowan has 17 non-freshmen and only 6 upperclassmen.
“It is a benefit for them if they use it the right way,” Baker said. “We were younger last year and beat them at our place. Doing what we do great, fast attacking soccer, we don’t know if experience will come into play, but our guys are getting experience”
Not only will a conference win be on the line, but so will win streaks. Rutgers-Camden is riding a four game streak, while Rowan, not to be outdone, has won seven straight. Something has got to give come Wednesday night.