The Profs knew exactly what they wanted when they drove down to Severn Park, MD and it that was nothing less than a championship win. On that dreadful and rainy Saturday, the Profs broke through to become NCLL Fall Brawl 2016 Champions; racking up 40 goals and only letting up six in all four games combined.
Returning players, especially president, Brian Mahoney, had a chip on their shoulders after losing in the championship game last year, 7-6, to Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. That was just the right amount of fuel to keep them burning for a victory this year.
Now, if the loss last year was fuel for the fire, then adding this year’s strong line-up of new players was certainly like pouring gasoline into that fire. When the team showed up at Severn School’s doorsteps with many new faces on the team, it was almost impossible to predict the winning streak they’d experience. This is driven even further home when one realizes that their round-one game against Washington College, would be their very first game of the year.
The Profs aren’t a team to underestimate their opponents before heading in. So, early at 10:30 a.m., they opened their tournament with engines revving. That was a good thing, considering that this first game began literally seconds into entering the field. Morale was at an air-filling high, with plenty of cheers and shouting to go around. This game would debut new face-off man, Will Spreen, who along with freshman, Pat Hall, and junior, Billy Van Dyke, has to fill-in the shoes of graduate, Alex Muholland. Spreen started for the Profs and helped give a good impression for the Profs’ face-off staff. Junior, Matt Gorzynski, took to crease to score the first goal, approximately 11 minutes into the first half, off of an assist from sophomore, Bruce Barrett. The next goal occurred two minutes later when freshman, Mike Soravilla, gracefully scored his first goal of the day while coming from X. The Profs would soon find an unexpected inconvenience when junior, Alex Chalef, was cross-checked by a Washington College defenseman. The resulting fall would injure Chalef’s elbow enough to bench the midfielder for the duration of the tournament. Despite this setback, the Profs still came out on top with a 13-1 win over the Geese. Other goals came from Van Dyke, as well as junior, Ryan Gallagher, sophomore, Tim Gleason and Hall.
Next, the team found themselves facing Virginia Commonwealth University, where an uneasy first half in the rain proposed new questions to the team’s formations. The Profs came out with a boost from their first game, but the team was still working some kinks out on defense. Luckily, with a solid defense of f sophomores, Ian Rattigan and Bruce Barrett, and freshman, Andrew Burr, defense regained its composure as the Rams scored 3 goals by the end of the first half. As for defensive-middies, Ryan Francisco and Hall tailored an intimidating performance up top. Sophomore, Derek Hofmann, kept himself vigilant at goal and showed the marks of a more capable goalie. Long-stick middie, junior Mike Conroy kept his cool alongside the team’s staff of middies. Also at LSM, freshman, Corey Spatz, and junior transfer, Steven Cupo displayed adaptability and grit in their transition games, making for entertaining six-on-sixes. Even without Chalef lending his help at midfield, middies like senior, Chris Deck, had no real trouble barreling through and giving many opportunities to score. Count on the Profs to take advantage of those opportunities. One-by-one, the scoreboard tallied-up for Rowan. The Profs kept pushing and came out with a 7-3 victory over the Rams. Goals came out of Van Dyke, junior, Donovan Moyer, Pat Burns, Gallagher, Spreen, as well as a goal off of a loose ball by Gorzynski. Soravilla would once again impress those watching with a couple of well-placed goals and an assist to Van Dyke.
After Washington College left the tournament, the Profs received a bye and an hour-and-a-half to kill before their next game against Stevenson University. By this time, they were the number one seed in the tournament. This news gave the team some time to get out of the rain and rest.
After break-time was over though, the team got back at it with game three. Now, in this game, it appeared that the Profs were enjoying themselves, and this is proven through the Prof’s 12-2 win. This was a game where newcomers like Soravilla, Spreen, Hall, and Burr, as well as others such as freshman middie, Brian Zales really showed the potential that this new team has. Their addition in this tournament showed to be invaluable. The Prof’s clear-game was impressive and it seemed to be easier as time went on to get possession back. As this game drew to a close, the team looked over to the far-side field to watch as VCU won its own semifinal game against Kutztown. The Profs finished up with Stevenson and prepared themselves for a rematch: the championship game!
Everything culminated into this. A championship game at 6pm on a fall night meant that visibility would be a factor. Around this time, the rain had just stopped and the clouds let a glow of sunlight through, which made this last game aesthetically pleasing. It was even better when the first whistle blew for Spreen’s first face-off of the game. This began the tug-o-war between Rowan and VCU. Both teams found themselves in a slow start for the first 10 minutes of the game, with many shots on goal from both sides, but no goals. Mahoney gave a fight in goal, with a couple of good moves that kept Rowan’s clearing game as polished as ever. With plenty of muscle still left on defense, Rowan only let in a single goal. As the Profs grew weary of the shooting gallery, a goal from Soravilla broke the silence. This was the turning point where the Profs would find their stand against VCU. Subsequent goals rained in from Gorzynski, Van Dyke, and Gallagher. Freshman middie, Mike Squicciarini, also tapped in a goal, which, along with a couple more from Soravilla, tallied the Profs at 7 goals by the end of the game. The clinching of each goal only lead to more hype, with the sideline cheering louder and louder.
As 7pm started rolling around, the whistle blew and the Profs finished this game, and this tournament, with a 7-1 score over VCU: The Profs were Fall Brawl 2016 champions. The team let the excitement overtake them as they got their goalie and shook hands with VCU. Mahoney at last got to hold the Fall Brawl trophy, a stamp for his last time at the tournament. For those returning from last year’s season, this moment couldn’t have come soon enough. Yet, for those who got to take in that moment, it was well worth the wait.