Weeks ago, when the season was 10 games young, the Rowan field hockey team looked like a force to be reckoned with.
The team reeled off eight consecutive wins after starting the season 0-2 and were outscoring their opponents 30-10, blanking the opposition four times.
During the streak, they found themselves all the way up to the No. 15 spot in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Coaches Poll.
Ever since New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) play started on Oct. 1, things just have not been the same.
“Sometimes you just play teams you might not be prepared for,” sophomore backer Skyler Pino said. “Maybe we thought we could take it easy. I think not having an eight game win streak will make us work harder and push more when the time comes.”
The team is 2-3 since its NJAC start, with their most recent game being a 2-0 loss to then No. 18 ranked Montclair State. That result pushed the Profs out of the top-20 rankings.
In the two wins, the team has outscored its opponent 7-0, but in the losses, the brown and gold are getting outscored 8-4.
To make matters worse, the team is 1-3 in conference play, good enough to land them in fifth place. The only problem is that the NJAC Tournament takes the top four teams.
“Lately we’ve been playing some tough teams so we have a couple losses behind us,” freshman midfielder/forward Casey Wagner said. “We’re trying to get over it, change our system and make it work.”
That change comes at an opportune time for the brown and gold, who are currently on a week long gap between games.
According to Pino, having this much time between games is “really weird,” but the team is changing up the way they are running practices by doing different drills and trying people in different positions to see what clicks best.
As head coach Michelle Andre put it, the team is doing things to put “a little more fire on the forward line.”
When they come back to action on Oct. 22, the Profs will be facing off against William Paterson. The Pioneers currently hold the fourth spot in the conference, but a Rowan win would change that.
“To me, the next game up is the biggest game of the season, but that one, yes, it is a must win,” Andre said.
If they are able to pull out a win against the Pioneers on Saturday, it would give Rowan just their second conference win on the year.
That is a far cry from the five NJAC wins and a second place finish that last year’s team garnered.
“It’s just a different year,” Andre said. “Every year is different, every team is different all across the board, all across the country. It seems that people are beating people that they usually don’t. The good news is, how I look at it, that it’s anybody’s year.”