Sophomore forward Travis Ward chose a great time to pick up his first collegiate hat trick.
Led by Ward and freshman midfielder Kevin Pereira, the brown and gold defeated New Jersey City University by the score of 4-0 on Saturday night.
“It feels great. My coaches are always pushing me to strive for more,” Ward said. “Once I get one I usually get a couple more after, tonight I was lucky enough to get three.”
The Profs had plenty of opportunities in the first half, evident in their eight shots, but five offsides calls stifled all chances and left the scoreboard blank at halftime.
“We came out a little light and our focus wasn’t where it needed to be,” head coach Scott Baker said. “Our focus changed and we added a little more passion to what we were doing and that’s what changed.”
The scoring opened up in the 54th minute when Pereira deflected a ball from freshman defender Will Sjaastad into the back of the net.
Ward tallied his first goal in the 71st minute and followed that up with another only two minutes later. Both of those goals were assisted by senior midfielder Shane Kohler.
The sophomore forward closed out the scoring in the 81st minute with a volley off of a ball sent in by sophomore midfielder Steve Kim.
In total, the Profs outshot their opponent 23-1 with 13 shots on goal.
“We didn’t play a good first half. We played, obviously, much better in the second half,” Baker said. “The games right now are pretty much win or go home. Tonight we won, so as far as my impression of the game, I’ll take the win.”
That “win or go home” mentality will be on display Wednesday when Rowan takes on The College of New Jersey at home in the final regular season game of the season.
The Profs currently sit at 5-3 in conference play, which puts them in a three way tie for third place. TCNJ is on the outside looking in, but with a win against the Profs, the two teams would have the same conference record. With only six teams making the conference tournament, a win would be crucial for Rowan.
“It’s unbelievably important. It’s, as of right now, the biggest game of the year,” Ward said. “It’s going to set the tone for the year and hopefully we come out with a win.”
Ward, who now leads the team in goals, had his statement echoed by Baker.
“The whole season is basically riding on it,” Baker said. “If we win it becomes an amazing season and if we lose, chances are that’s our last game.”