After missing the postseason in 2018, Temple University bounced back and made the inaugural American Athletic Conference lacrosse tournament.
The Owls ended their season with a 13-9 loss to Cincinnati in The American semifinal on Thursday in Ohio. Despite the loss, coach Bonnie Rosen is proud of the Owls’ performance this season, she said.
“I thought our team fought really hard [this year],” Rosen said. “Definitely as I sit here at the end, I am very excited for what we get to work for heading into next year.”
Temple finished the season was a 6-11 record but went 3-2 in conference play, which placed them third at the end of the regular season.
The Owls will maintain their core players for next season, as seven of Temple’s eight all-conference players will return. Temple’s returning honorees include its starting goalkeeper and leaders in goals, assists and draw controls.
Junior attacker Maddie Gebert was a unanimous first-team all-conference selection.
Gebert received weekly conference hours three times during the season, including winning Attacker of the Week twice. Gebert ended the season with a team-high 40 goals and 44 points.
Gebert scored five goals in the Owls’ semifinal loss to Cincinnati and recorded a team-high eight shots on goal. She was going scoreless in back-to-back games in March, but ended the season on an eight-game scoring streak.
“Maddie’s drive to the goal is as strong as any attacker that you can find in the country,” Rosen said.
Due to NCAA rules, players were not made available during the week after the season ended last week.
Sophomore midfielder Bridget Whitaker, a two-time Weekly Honor Roll recipient, and junior defender and captain Kara Nakrasius were also voted as members of the first team. Whitaker led the team in assists with 21, and Nakrasius recorded a team-high 68 draw controls.
Whitaker recorded four assists against Cincinnati, and Nakrasius collected four ground balls and three draw controls.
Five Temple players made The American’s second team — junior attacker and midfielder Olivia Thompson, senior midfielder Amber Lambeth, sophomore midfielder Jen Rodzewich, sophomore defender Courtney Taylor and junior goalkeeper Maryn Lowell.
Thompson and Lambeth both served as captains alongside Nakrasius. Thompson scored 31 goals, including a six-goal game against Rutgers University on Feb. 13. Lambeth was second in draw controls with 48. Taylor was second in ground balls with 45, while Lowell had 50.
Thompson played both midfield and attacker this season, which helped her development as a player, Rosen said.
The Owls almost missed the conference tournament for the second straight year after missing the postseason in their final Big East Conference season in 2018. In March, they lost four games in a row, including their conference opener against the University of Florida on March 30.
Temple went 3-2, including 3-1 in conference games, to close the season. The Owls beat East Carolina, 18-5, in their second-to-last regular-season game to clinch a spot then earned the No. 3 seed by beating Vanderbilt University.
The Owls returned to the postseason for the first time since the 2017 Big East tournament, but they lost their third straight playoff game.
Rosen and her coaching staff will now shift focus to preparing the returning players for next season. The rising senior class has 10 members, six of whom started more than 10 games during the 2019 season.
Temple is graduating just four seniors and will have a strong upperclassmen presence for next season, meaning most of its players will have experience on the field.
“It’s an exciting time,” Rosen said. “It’s a little bit of a sad time to see one thing end, but fortunately for many of us, we get a chance to dream about what can be next year.”