It’s been a couple of games since the Rowan men’s soccer team has had a lead in the first half. The last time that they scored in the first 45 minutes was October 21, when the Profs won 2-1 over Kean University.
Rowan played Kean on Saturday night, this time to the tune of a 3-0 drubbing of the Cougars.
“This is an awesome win. There’s no other way to put it. It was an awesome win, it’s a big win,” head coach Scott Baker said. “Obviously we needed it to move on and we’re moving on. The kids played awesome it’s a fight and we won it.”
Baker said that despite how they played Kean only 10 days ago, the team couldn’t base anything off of that result.
Junior captain Vinny Ignatowicz found something that the team could take away from the earlier game.
“We knew we beat them at their place and they had a really great fan base,” Ignatowicz said. “It’s tough on Halloween because people have a lot of stuff to do, but we knew that if we took them out there, we could do more damage here.”
In their first home playoff game since 2011, the Profs opened up the scoring in 25th minute when senior captain Shane Kohler followed a Kevin Primich shot and buried a rebound in the back of the net.
In the second half, Ignatowicz put his head on the finishing end of a Travis Ward cross to make the score 2-0 in the 56th minute.
The final goal was put in by freshman forward Shane Doherty with 17 minutes left in the game.
Four players, all Profs, were booked in the game, including sophomore defender Brendan Macfarlane, who received two yellow cards and was sent off. The brown and gold played a man down from the 52nd minute until the end of the game.
“We had to put an extra defender back and we knew at that point they would be pressing us because they needed to get a goal. That opened them up even more and we know that if we open teams up and get a lead on them, we can keep scoring.”
Despite the physical play, the Profs were able to succeed.
“I think if you look at the way we played over the season, our physicality has grown a lot as we have. Earlier in the season it riled us up a little bit, but now it works in our favor,” Ignatowicz said. “Early in the game they were trying to bang us and go really hard, but we settled in and played our game.”
The victory over Kean was the sixth straight win for Rowan, something that Ignatowicz says is key to this time of the season.
“I think it’s perfect. When we were losing, I said we didn’t have to change anything and that if we learned the right lessons from the losses then we could go on a run and it would be beneficial,” Ignatowicz said. “I think that’s exactly what happened here. We took those losses and we fixed the little things that we needed to fix.”
The win sets up a rematch with Montclair State on Wednesday, November 4 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament Semi-Finals. The Profs lost to the Red Hawks 2-1 earlier in the season.
“We just have to trust in ourselves and believe in our system,” Baker said. “We did that against TCNJ and Kean, and we’re going to do the same thing against Montclair.”