The Owls drop their first conference game.
After starting the season with five straight wins, the women’s lacrosse team has dropped four of its past six games, including its most recent 14-7 loss to a feisty, physical Duquesne squad on Sunday, April 1.
Despite the recent slump, senior midfielder Stephanie Markunas is confident that the Owls (7-4, 1-1 Atlantic Ten Conference) can repair the kinks they have recently endured.
“We just need to be able to adjust and freelance a little more throughout the game,” Markunas said. “Even if there are turnovers, we just need to work [twice] as hard to get the ball going the other way.”
Frustration was evident amongst the throng of Temple fans that sat anxiously on the sidelines, trying to spur their team on to victory and often directing their angst toward the referees. Anticipation would grow momentarily after each Temple score in the second half, but each stint of excitement was stifled by a quick response by conference rival Duquesne (8-4, 1-1 A-10).
Temple may see the Dukes again, who served the Owls their first A-10 defeat of the year, if both team make the A-10 tournament. Markunas said that if such a meeting does occur, the Owls would be prepared to face them again.
“We know what we’re going to be up against and we know what we’re going to change,” Markunas said.
The Owls have already proved that they are a resilient, mentally tough team, with a couple come-from-behind wins this season to show for it against Rutgers and Delaware. That tough-minded attitude is spearheaded by the leadership of Markunas and the unwavering confidence she has in herself and her teammates.
“I still have no doubt that we’re going to be in the tournament and going to be the ones coming out on top,” Markunas said. “We’re trying not to hang out heads. We need to look at all the positives that can come out of it.”
Markunas contributed two goals and assist in Sunday’s game, boosting her season totals to 17 goals and a team-leading 13 assists.
Coach Bonnie Rosen was disappointed but undeterred after Sunday’s loss. She emphasized that each game going forward is simply another step towards the ultimate goal of winning the A-10 championship.
“We certainly wanted to come away with the win, but really, it’s more important that we get better and come away with the next win,” Rosen said. “It’s about gaining composure and handling pressure and we’re still working on that. We’ve got the rest of our A-10 season to figure it out and to be better prepared to play under different pressure situations.”
The Owls take a break from their conference schedule on Wednesday, April 4 against Princeton, but finish the season off with five pivotal in-conference contests.
Mark McHugh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.