The Rowan women’s lacrosse team has finally reached the point in the season when games mean just a little bit more.
The New Jersey Athletic Conference slate opened up last night for the brown and gold, and they handled their first test with flying colors.
The Profs led 10-1 at halftime, and ultimately downed the Ospreys of Stockton University, 15-9, in large part due to a dominant performance in the draw control, winning 12 and conceding zero.
Stockton had won seven straight games before last night’s game.
Head coach Lindsay Delaney made it clear that the streak meant nothing to her team.
“Don’t care, never care, won’t care,” Delaney said. “We’re just going to worry about what we do. We know the strength of schedule we play, who we’re competing against and what we’re preparing for.”
By that, Delaney is speaking of a conference title, a bid into the NCAA tournament, and ultimately, a national title.
However, the team must first navigate its way through a tough conference schedule.
“Every game is incredibly important right now,” Delaney said. “We’re well aware of that. Not just for conference championships, but going into NCAA’s too.”
As if the pressure of playing conference games wasn’t enough, the brown and gold get the pleasure – or displeasure – of playing some of the top competition in the coming days.
Rowan plays Montclair State before hosting the No. 1 team in the country in The College of New Jersey, and Kean University, who currently sits second in the conference.
With such a large stretch of tough games, the Profs can not afford to look ahead to a particular opponent.
“We take it one game at a time,” senior attack Danielle Hubbs said. “We think of our next opponent and what we have to do to get through them. We don’t get through the next opponent if we’re looking ahead.”
While the odds seemed stacked against the team, it does seem that they have an ace up their sleeve.
Against Stockton on Tuesday night, senior attack Rachel Hofbauer was able to get back on the field after being sidelined with an injury since the season opener against Ursinus College. Last year, Hofbauer led the team with 49 goals. That mark also ranked second in the NJAC.
Delaney did not spare any praise for the senior.
“She’s huge,” Delaney said. “We were hoping she’d be back by NJAC play and she is. She brings a whole different element to the game. She’s fast and defends really well. She has a quick shot. Now defenses will have to pay attention to her.”
The first defense that will try to key in on the Profs in Montclair State, who Rowan will face on Saturday.
The Red Hawks are 7-4 overall on the year, but are win-less in the NJAC, having dropped their first conference game to TCNJ.
“It’s definitely one of my favorite games to play,” Hubbs said. “It’s very high energy, very neck and neck and I’m very excited to see what we’ll do as a team. I think we’re going to dominate.”