Sports

Freshman attacker shines for lacrosse in first half of season

In the first eight games of the lacrosse season, Rachel Schwaab has already established herself as one of the strongest rookies in Owls’ history.

In each of the last five seasons, at least one Owl has been named to the Atlantic 10 Conference All-Rookie team. Though the streak may end at some point, if freshman attacker Rachel Schwaab’s eight-game sampling is any indicator, it won’t be this year.

At the halfway mark of the lacrosse season, Schwaab is on pace to have one of the best statistical seasons a freshman Owl has ever had, and if she keep it up she will likely be in the running for A-10 accolades at the end of the year.

From the beginning, Schwaab’s addition to the Owl’s roster brought a skill set that the Temple staff coveted. Coach Bonnie Rosen knew from day one that Schwaab would be an impact player, even as a freshman.

“I’m not surprised,” Rosen said. “This entire freshmen class came in ready to make an impact and that’s why we recruited them. Rachel is an example of someone who’s game was ready to contribute in a really big way, from the beginning”

Through eight games played in 2013, Schwaab has recorded 20 total points on 14 goals and six assists, which ranks second on the team. Schwaab’s nine draw controls ranks third on the team and she also ranks second, out of players with at least 20 shot attempts, in shot percentage, with 56 percent.

“I feel like she’s really confident when she gets the ball,” junior attacker Jamie Tabor said. “She can drive and she’s very confident with her skills, to be able to beat defenders. She loves going to goal. Nothing really stops her when she has the ball”.

After the Owls lost senior Jackie Mercer to an undisclosed season-ending injury, Schwaab has stepped in as the starting attacker, alongside Tabor.

“It’s pretty hard without Jackie being there, just because of her leadership role. I’m trying to be more of that,” Schwaab said.

Though her first start against Stanford produced zero goals and a single assist, in her following three starts, Schwaab recorded six goals and four assists.

“I feel like we all expect a lot from her because she’s such a strong player,” Tabor said. “Even in Stanford when she didn’t, she was still an impact player on the field.”

As a result of her performance in the three road game stretch in California in the week of March 3-9, Schwaab earned the A-10 Rookie of the Week Award for the second time this season. Schwaab attributes the individual success of her first season to a complete team effort and her veteran teammates.

“I think part of the reason that I’m producing as much as I am is because the attention is all on the upperclassmen,” Schwaab said. “They’re drawing a lot of attention. That helps me do what I do.”

“We all have different styles of play,” Schwaab added. “So, I see certain things from behind the cage, that they don’t see and they see things that maybe I don’t see. I think it balances each other out and it’s really helpful to have them.”

With a couple of weekly awards in her possession and several weeks left in the 2013 season, the early indication is that Schwaab’s name will likely be amongst the list of players considered for the A-10 All-Rookie team and A-10 Rookie of the Year.

Former Owl midfielders Jennifer Homka and Missy Schweitzer were part of the 2008 and 2009 All-Rookie teams, in their respective freshman years. In 2010, current senior midfielders Charlotte Swavola and Stephany Parcell both received the honor. Tabor made the list in 2011 and sophomore midfielder Molly Seefried was on last year’s team.

Of the those previous six A-10 All-Rookie team members, Schwaab’s 20 total points through eight games only trails Parcell, who ended her freshman season with a total of 25 points.

It may be too early to predict that Schwaab will be honored by the A-10, but the Owls are happy to know that they have a great young player moving forward.

“I think one of the best qualities that Rachel really has is she enjoys setting her teammates up as much or more than being the goal scorer,” Rosen said. “That bodes well for a very strong long term career.”

Brien Edwards can be reached at brien.edwards@temple.edu.

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