Rowan took on their fourth ranked opponent of the season when New Jersey Athletic Conference opponent No. 5 Montclair St. came to Glassboro on Saturday night.
The Profs however fell to the Red Hawks by the score of 2-1. Head coach Scott Baker was stern and quick with his response.
“We didn’t play good enough to win,” Baker said.
Rowan had numerous opportunities off of free kicks in the first half, but were unable to capitalize.
“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. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Physical play was expected in this game as Rowan and Montclair were number one and two in the NJAC in fouls. This was evident by the four yellow cards received by Montclair players.
“Our type of play, we try to keep in on the ground and move it around,” freshman defender Will Sjaastad said. “Physicality wasn’t too much of a distraction.”
Despite outshooting Montclair 6-3 in the first half, the score remained knotted at zero at half time.
“We were playing good enough in the first half. We didn’t finish and we weren’t dominating the 18’s enough, but we were playing good,” Baker said. “I thought we had the better part of the play, but they came out in the second half and beat us in the second half. They just played better than we did.”
Rowan got out to a slow start in the second half, allowing Montclair to score three minutes into the half.
In the 57th minute, Sjaastad took and scored off of a free kick from 25 yards out. It was his second consecutive game with a goal, and his fourth on the season.
“It was definitely needed to pick up the morale and to get us up and going,” Sjaastad said.
However, only 10 minutes later, the Red Hawks struck again, this time putting in a rebound given up by freshman goalkeeper Kyle Dennis.
After only mustering three shots in the first half, Montclair managed nine in the second, almost doubling five chances taken by Rowan.
The Profs are now 10-3 overall, but have fallen to 2-2 in NJAC play, good for sixth in the conference. The team is also 1-3 against Top 25 opponents.
“In terms of getting an at-large bid or the NCAA’s it’s a big deal playing against ranked teams. We’ve got to take care of these teams,” Kohler said. “It’s unfortunate because we feel like we’re one of the top teams in the country too and things just haven’t gone our way. We’ll get back after it and we’ll get better.”
Rowan looks to rebound against Stockton University, 10-3-1 overall and 3-1-1 in conference, on Wednesday night. A win would definitely be beneficial, but it’s starting to look like Rowan might need some outside help from other teams. Sjaastad summed up the importance of the remaining games in four short words.
“Gotta win them all,” Sjaastad said.