According to Rowan head soccer coach Scott Baker, the New Jersey Athletic Conference is always a fight. If that statement is true, then the Profs absolutely knocked out Rutgers-Newark in the conference opener on Saturday with a 7-1 final score.
“We’re going to attack, were a little bit risky with the numbers going forward but if we can make it happen it’s going to look like that,” Baker said. “We have a lot of people who can score and when they all score they’re all happy.”
Rutgers-Newark struck first when Anthony DeRisi snuck the ball past Rowan goalkeeper Kyle Dennis on a breakaway at the 4:42 mark.
“No matter what the score is you always got to play the same with the same intensity and just always pick it up no matter what the score is,” freshman forward Shane Doherty said. “You got to play looking to score more goals and win the game.”
After that, the defense, led by freshmen center backs Kevin Primich and Will Sjaastad, smothered Rutgers-Newark’s attack and it was all Rowan.
“Without [Will Sjaastad] and Kevin Primich in the back winning those balls and the outside backs making those runs, we don’t get those goals that we had” Baker said.
Sophomore forward Jake Conners evened things up for the Profs when he scored in the 7th minute. Following one of the Profs nine corner kicks, junior defender Shane Patterson put Rowan on top at the 20:42 mark.
“Shane Patterson has just had absolutely amazing runs out of the back,” Baker said. “He had the run of the game today. He’s just playing incredible and he’s making a tremendous difference on both sides of the ball.”
The physical style of play that Rowan has exhibited throughout the season was once again on display as sophomore forward Travis Ward and freshman Jeremy Camargo both received yellow cards in the first half.
Ward extended the lead when he found himself unmarked on the back post and headed a cross from Shane Kohler into the back of the net.
Doherty found the back of the net two minutes later when he finished off a ball from Ward. Doherty leads the team with seven goals.
“It’s a great feeling to be scoring goals for the team and were pushing forward in general getting a lot of wins and some great wins,” Doherty said. “It’s a great feeling to be a part of this team.”
Junior midfielder and captain Vinny Ignatowicz followed up on a rebound and added to lead at the 62:12 mark.
“I wouldn’t even say we’re close to peaking right now. I think our dominance is showing but we’re missing opportunities, we’re missing touches, and we’re not clicking at our best right now,” Ignatowicz said. “I think our preparation is far ahead that this will carry us through December.”
Freshman midfielder Blake Cjazkowski tacked on two more goals when we scored in the 80th and 83rd minute.
“That’s a really important win,” Baker said. “They’re one of the top teams in the conference and they really took it to us last year. It’s a great win at home.”
Six players scored the seven goals scored against Rutgers-Newark, which was the most scored by the Profs this season and the most since September 7 of last year.
“I think it’s our confidence overall. We put in a ton of work into our training sessions. They’re pretty brutal so when we come out onto the field it’s almost like this is our freedom,” Ignatowicz said. “We get to get on the field, we’re knocking the ball around, we’re putting the ball in the back of the net, and everyone’s feeling good. This is our fun time. We tear it up at practice and it translates to the field.”
The win marks the seventh in a row for the men’s soccer team and the first in NJAC play. So far this season the team is outscoring their opponents 35 to 10 and haven’t scored less than four goals since September 6 against Clarkson, but they have yet to crack the Top 25 rankings, which is okay with Ignatowicz, who would rather keep it that way and remain under the radar.
Now at 8-1, Rowan will take to the road Wednesday night to play NJAC opponent Rutgers-Camden, who stands at 7-1-1. The Profs took the game last season, and would extend their win streak to eight games while moving to 2-0 in the conference with a win on Wednesday.