When John Loiodice left Rowan University to take his first college head coaching job at Rosemont College in January, he had only one thing on his mind: getting the Ravens their first conference title and berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Rosemont was coming off their second appearance in the Colonial States Athletic Conference final in program history in 2019 but with a season wiped out from Covid-19 Loiodice went to work rebuilding the program for a championship run. That meant bringing in a new staff and 17 newcomers while convincing a couple core veterans to stick around.
“It was a total team effort,” Loiodice said after the Ravens’ 3-0 win over Cairn on the gray turf at Rosemont last Saturday night. “It was brand new guys coming in, it was guys that have been here for a while and then a new staff and we just blended it in. We had a goal from day one when I got the job on January 28th and a slogan to make history and here we are making history in November.”
The small liberal arts college in Bryn Mawr with an undergraduate enrollment of fewer than 600 students only became co-ed in 2009 so soccer as a men’s program is still relatively young, but Loiodice said when he took the job in January he saw the program as “a sleeping giant.”
“I really did feel like there was a niche for students who wanted to come to a smaller school that wanted a fantastic soccer experience,” said Loiodice, a New Jersey native who teaches physical education at Triton Regional High School in New Jersey. “Bryn Mawr is an incredible town too and you saw with the recruits we brought in where the culture is headed now.”
Entering the NCAA Tournament stage for the first time as a program will no doubt bring more attention to the program. The Ravens open against traditional Division III power Amherst, which finished second in 2019 and won it all in 2015, in a Saturday afternoon game at 1 p.m. at Babson College.
They enter tied with Penn State Harrisburg for fifth in the country in goals per game at 3.59. They’ve outscored opponents 61-22 in 17 matches.
Kaiden Fields, a Florida native who transferred to Rosemont after Wesley College cut soccer, leads the way offensively with 20 goals and 9 assists but Washington Township, N.J. native Clayton Crosse isn’t far behind with 14 goals and 9 assists. His two goals staked Rosemont to a 2-0 lead in the CSAC final before Fields putting the icing on the cake in the 3-0 win last Saturday.
“This was the goal from the start,” Fields said after collecting two trophies as a CSAC champion and the MVP of the tournament. “We said it in February, this is exactly where we want to be.”
While newcomers Fields and Crosse have paced the Ravens’ potent attack, the back five showed how valuable they have been to the team in pitching a shutout in the CSAC final. Fifth-year senior Will Boehmer was able to limit Cairn’s main offensive threat — Jesse Brittain — while providing the leadership that has been key for a back line that is otherwise all first-year players (goalkeeper Todd Berman made his debut this season and defenders Sean Rodriguez, Tai Torres and Justin Olbrich are all rookies). Olbrich came up with a huge goal line clearance and Berman a vital save to squash the Cairn comeback bid.
“When John was hired back in January I was part of the search committee and I didn’t know I was coming back,” said Boehmer, a Downingtown native. “But just seeing what he was about and how committed he was to getting quality players here and the staff he was putting together I decided to come back and get my graduate degree.”
Now instead of ending his Rosemont career with the heartbreaking of the 2019 CSAC final loss, Boehmer is helping lead the program into unchartered territory.
In talking about the run they’ve had this season, Loiodice frequently mentions words like underdog and unbelievable to describe the journey they’ve been on and the many stories of adversity on and off the field players have overcome.
“There’s so many little stories in this team,” Loiodice said. “It’s just remarkable where we are now and it’s only been 10 months.”
How to Watch
Rosemont’s game on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. will be streamed live on the Babson College Sports Network.