Fall Athletics teams set sights on a winning season

Fall Athletics teams set sights on a winning season

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Rowan University’s fall student-athletes have been on campus since mid-August and have come out strong to start the regular season.

Here’s a look at each of the teams this autumn. For the full schedules and complete coverage, visit the Athletics website

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Football

Rowan University FootballIn search of its first NCAA Division III Tournament berth since 2016, the Rowan football team opened its season against Widener for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Despite a 38-28 early season loss, the program still maintains high hopes with the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) schedule to begin on October 5 at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware.

The Profs are led by a pair of preseason All-Americans according to D3football.com in seniors Elijah Rehm and David Gajderowicz. The seniors are just two of the only four NJAC players to be named to the preseason first or second team.

“I think we made a lot of improvement in the spring,” said veteran Head Coach Jay Accorsi, who begins his 18th season with the program and has a 125-57 record. “There is a bigger upperclassmen group and we brought in some really good young talent.

“It looks to be a really good group that likes to push each other. I see some cohesiveness with the group already.”

Field Hockey

Rowan University Field HockeyDespite coming off a fantastic season in which the Rowan field hockey team went 22-1 and secured a NJAC title, this team is motivated by its only loss of the year which came in the national semifinals. It certainly helps that this year’s group is off to a 3-0 start.

Under Head Coach Michelle Andre, named the NJAC Coach of the Year in 2018, the Profs are 63-20 and are favored to win the NJAC championship again this year.

With a loaded roster, the Profs will still lean heavily on senior midfielder Bridget Boyle, who has started every game since joining the Profs as a freshman in 2016.

“I definitely want to go further than the Final Four,” Boyle said. “We have the will to win. This is my last year. We had a taste of the Final Four and now we want to go all the way.”

Women’s Soccer

Rowan University Women's SoccerOn the heels of a 13-3-2 campaign, the Rowan women’s soccer program plans to reach the NCAA Division Championship Tournament for the fifth season in a row and 15th overall.

Under Head Coach Scott Leacott, the Profs have won at an impressive .758 clip over 21 seasons and, even with a relatively young roster that features just three seniors in Daria Jones, Megan McKinley and Casey Lubonski, the objectives remain the same.

“We’ve always been pretty solid defensively,” said Leacott, whose program allowed just 14 goals in 19 games a season ago that included 12 shutouts. “You always concentrate on your defensive shape and all of that. We do have veterans back there. They’ve played for three years and, other than Casey, they’re all juniors.”

The Profs got off to a quick start on Labor Day weekend with a pair of wins before a road trip to Fredricksburg, Maryland in which they went 1-1 and will have three more games before their NJAC season begins on September 21 against William Patterson University.

Men’s Soccer

Rowan University Men's SoccerWhile many programs are happy with a 12-7 campaign, the men’s soccer team has set higher standards for itself and an influx of talent will have the Profs looking to finish higher than last year’s fourth place.

Despite a roster with 15 freshmen, the Profs are expected to compete for a conference title according to a poll conducted of NJAC coaches. In fact, the Profs got off to a 3-1 start. Freshman Jay Vandermark earned his spot with four goals in the first two games of the season. A two-game excursion to Chicago to play the University of Chicago and North Park University will certainly afford the young Profs a chance to bond as a team.

Even with the arrival of many younger players, the Profs will lean heavily on the upperclassmen. A pair of all-conference performers, Kevin Primich and 2018 NJAC defensive player of the year Modou Sowe, will carry the leadership roles as this team acclimates to the college game.

“The tradition of the program is not about having teams go 12-7,” Head Coach Scott Baker said. “It’s about a way better run in the post season.

“We’re going to have to keep hammering that point to the team to make sure we make an impact in the most important part of the season.”

Volleyball

Rowan University VolleyballOff to a 5-2 start, the Profs will look to improve on last year’s 17-16 record. Under six-year head coach Deana Jespersen, the Profs have steadily built a contender and will look to keep their upward trend in motion over the next three months.

With just three seniors including captains Kailey Gallagher and Megan Jacoby, plenty is expected from the underclassmen. To that point, sophomore Natalie Ogden stepped up during the opening weekend as the outside hitter posting 36 points over three games which included 29 kills.

Cross Country

Rowan University Men's Cross CountryBoth the men’s and women’s cross country teams are focused on preparations for the NJAC Tournament with an eye on the NCAA Championship meet, but not before facing several challenges during the next two months.

Both had strong showings this past weekend at the Philadelphia Metro Championships. The men’s team led by sophomore Kevin Lauer and senior Jake Caruso eased to titles as the pair finished first and second with times of 27:33.8 and 27:41.4 on the 8K course. The Profs outlasted 12 other programs including a Jefferson University squad that finished in second place 59 points behind the Profs.

Rowan University Women's Cross CountryMuch like the men, the women’s team had a strong start and finished second at the Metro Championships. Junior Alyssa Sanders remains the top runner in the program as she took home the title in a time of 19:57.3 on the 5K course.

The NJAC Tournament is scheduled for November 2 at Stockton University, a course both teams are familiar with as both opened the year with dual meet victories over the host Ospreys on August 30.​