Coach Bonnie Rosen hinted at it in the days leading up to the Owls’ season opener.
“It’s certainly not impossible to rotate two goalies in a game,” Rosen said on Feb. 11.
After having its full time starter graduate last year, Temple (1-0) started this season with two players sharing goalkeeping duties.
In an 18-5 home-opening win against Niagara (0-1) on Saturday, Feb. 16, the Owls started the game with senior Meghan Clothier in goal, but ended it with redshirt freshman Jaqi Kakalecik.
“It was a little bit on how the game went,” Rosen said. “We’ve been watching practice all week. I was really happy with how Kakalecik has been playing, so I was excited to get her in.”
For the past two seasons, former Owl Tess Bishop started every game as the primary goalie. With her departure, the 2013 season is the first time Temple has started a new goalie in years.
“We’ve been pushing ourselves,” Kakalecik said. “Last year there were four of us and we all really pushed ourselves, and this year we’re doing the same.”
With Bishop as the full-time starter the last couple seasons, Clothier has served as her backup for the majority of her career, until Saturday’s game. The season opener against Niagara was Clothier’s first career start.
“My whole career, I’ve always played in practice as if I was going to be the starter, even if I’m not going to be,” Clothier said. “This team wants to go far and in order to do that, we need solid goalkeeping. So it’s more motivating than anything.”
Clothier faced seven shots, recording three saves and allowing four goals in her first half as the starting goalie. After the Owls jumped out to a 12-4 lead, to Kakalecik’s surprise, Clothier was benched and the redshirt freshman was put on the field, for the second period.
“It was kind of a surprise. With five minutes left in the half, coach just told me to get my stuff on,” Kakalecik said. “I went and got warmed up and she told me I was going to be playing the second half.”
During her playing time in the second period, Kakalecik faced three shots, recorded two saves and allowed one goal.
“I was really impressed with their ability to focus in. Each came out with some key stops when we needed it,” Rosen said.
Clothier, the more tenured goalie, received the win for Saturday’s game, but Rosen did not show favor for one goalie over the other, giving them equal playing time.
“If we can use multiple goalies, we’re going to use them,” Rosen said. “We’re going to keep pushing the competition, so that we have the best in the cage at all times. Both of them did a pretty nice job.”
With no designated starter after the first game, Rosen said the goalie situation will continue to be an open competition.
“We’re all really competing and pushing each other to be the best goalie,” Kakalecik said. “In practice it’s always if Clothier makes one save, I try to make two. It’s the same with her. We’re always competing against each other and it’s all in good fun.”
In the season-opening blowout win, Niagara attempted 10 shots. Neither of the Owls’ goalies had the opportunity to gain an advantage in the battle for playing time. As the season continues, a larger sampling may lead to one of the goalies receiving the full-time job.
“I’m just going to go out and do what I’ve been doing, the same way I’ve been doing it,” Clothier said.
Brien Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BErick1123.