It’s that point of the season where things are starting to get interesting.
Some teams just want to get through the remaining games on their schedule and get onto the playoffs or offseason. Others are still vying for tournament spots, hoping that if they get in, they can upset one of the highly-ranked teams.
In this instance, the Rowan field hockey team is the latter.
Despite owning an 11-6 overall record, the brown and gold are clinging to the last spot in the New Jersey Athletic Conference playoffs due to a 2-3 conference mark.
The Profs’ most recent conference result, a 2-1 win against William Paterson on Oct. 22, elevated them into the fourth spot.
“Everything was good. We played very well,” head coach Michelle Andre said. “We came out a little flat in the first 10 minutes but I think as a team we made some really good adjustments throughout the game. We never stopped giving ourselves opportunities for scoring. I was really, really pleased with the win.”
Andre also said that the team rolled out a new system, one that she said was “smothering the other team.” This allowed Rowan to dictate the style of play.
Even though they may have been able to do that, it was not until the final minutes that the brown and gold were able to fully control the game. Freshman forward Bridget Boyle scored the go-ahead goal with under four minutes left in the contest.
“I almost cried just because I was so happy,” Boyle said. “I really wanted to win in regulation and didn’t want to go into 7-v-7 overtime. I knew we were all working so hard and working too hard to have to go into overtime to win a game. I knew we were good enough to win in regulation.”
Junior backer/midfielder Abbie Tucker added: “We knew what we had to do. [Coach Andre] always pepped us up before games, but that was one that we really didn’t need it. We had a lull, but [Boyle] picked us back up and it was great.”
Days before the game against the Pioneers, Andre said that the contest was a “must win.” However, whether or not Rowan makes the NJAC tournament will come down to their last game on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Stockton University. A victory would guarantee that the Profs are in.
Before they could even play that game, they had to face non-conference opponent Elizabethtown College on Wednesday night. The result was not what the Profs wanted, a 4-3 loss in overtime.
However, it did not change their conference tournament seeding.
“I feel like it’s very suspenseful,” Tucker said. “[Stockton] is the last NJAC game, the last important game of our season.”
If the brown and gold can manage to win their last regular season game, they will be riding a small amount of momentum going into the conference tournament, something that Tucker, Boyle and Andre all would like to happen.
“It’s really important,” Andre said. “You watch teams get hot at the right time, in baseball or football or any sport, you see them ride it.”