ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester showed no jitters in its first NCAA tournament appearance in a first-round 2-0 victory against Rowan on Wednesday.
Rochester (17-5) received goals from freshman Michelle Relin and junior Megan Keil to advance to the second round in Salisbury, Md. on Saturday. Rowan (15-7) fell in the first round in its first tournament appearance since 2009.
“We had energy, excitement and confidence,” head coach Wendy Andreatta said.
After Rowan got off one hard shot and a penalty corner early in the contest, the Yellowjackets were able to settle in and control the game for the next 15 minutes.
Rochester was able to get on the board first at 14:05 when senior Shelby Hall made a cross pass that found Relin, who was there to tap in the goal in between the Rowan keeper Jen Goldberg and the far post.
Six minutes later, Keil made it 2-0 on a very similar play. This time, it was Relin who set the play up with a cross pass to the right wing. Keil fired and found the back of the net after deflecting off a Profs defenders’ foot.
Down by two, Rowan took control of the rest of the half, earning four shots and six penalty corners.
In the second half, Rochester kept the pressure on defensively. “Getting a lead makes the defense work harder, we can then generate that into scoring chances for our forwards,” senior defender Sarah Dixon said.
Rochester held Rowan to just three shots on net in the second half. “Our senior defenders [Dixon and Alexa Freedman] are a brick wall back there,” Andreatta said.
Rowan was frustrated with its offensive execution in the game. “We just didn’t get any shots on goal, especially in the second half,” Rowan head coach Penny Kempf said. “Rochester had a game plan and it worked for them, they played a good game and we didn’t.”
With 3:30 remaining in the game, Rowan tried to mount a charge, but back-to-back opportunities for Jenna O’Sullivan and Emily Bucher were stopped by Rochester goalkeeper Madison Wagner.
Wagner made five saves on the game for her fourth solo shutout on the season. Jen Goldberg stopped 10 shots for the Profs.
“My palms were definitely sweating,” Dixon said about playing in the Yellowjackets’ first NCAA game.
Other Rochester teammates had a different perspective on the tournament. “We are here for a reason, and we know it,” Katie Flaschner said.