A non-revenue look at Big East expansion

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PAUL KLEIN TTN Freshman infielder Nick Lustrino bats .311.

The Temple News provides insight into a selection of Temple’s non-revenue sports teams’ reactions to the news that they’d be joining the Big East conference to compete, effective the 2013-14 season. Temple will be joining for football starting in the 2012 season.

Women’s Soccer

The move to the Big East Conference is a highly anticipated one by the women’s soccer team mainly because of the opportunity the conference provides on the national level.

“Last season we were in a two-bid conference in the A-10 to now a five-bid conference in the Big East where national champions have come out of in the last five seasons,” coach Matt Gwilliam said. “We think moving to a new conference will get a different kind of kid to start wanting to play here.”

The transition though won’t be an easy one due to the deeper schedule and the amount of travel the team will now have to do.

“There will be challenges, the weekends where you’re flying constantly and those can prove to be long trips that can wear on the body, we’ll have to get used to that,” Gwilliam said.

Last season the team finished 13th in the A-10 with a 2-6-1 conference mark and a 5-12-1 overall record.

-Anthony Bellino

Men’s Soccer

Men’s soccer coach Dave MacWilliams didn’t hold back when asked about Temple’s move to the Big East conference.

“It’s a big move for us and we’re excited about it,” MacWilliams said. “The Big East is one of the top conferences in collegiate soccer. It’s going to be a challenge, but we’re looking forward it.”

MacWilliams’ squad is coming off of a 2011 campaign in which the Owls went 9-10 and suffered a season-ending first round loss to La Salle in the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament. Moving up to a power conference may help the Owls draw in more talent in the long run.

“We’ve already seen improvement in our recruiting,” MacWilliams said. “For kids looking to play collegiate soccer at a high level, we’re going to be at that higher level and hopefully we can draw more interest from here on out.”

-Drew Parent

Field Hockey

The move to the Big East couldn’t come soon enough for field hockey coach Amanda Janney.

As the news of Temple’s move to the conference in all sports by 2013 was taking form earlier this month, Janney found herself signing eight players to Owls for this upcoming season.

“It’s big for the future of the program,” Janney said. “Getting into a bigger conference like the Big East helps for recruiting.”

The move by Temple in all Olympic sports brings more than better recruiting to non-revenue sports, it brings a higher level of competition.

“I think we can still compete with a lot of the teams, with some tough match ups such as Connecticut and Louisville,” Janney said.

These new tougher teams make the stakes higher, with the winner of the Big East getting an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Louisville, a perennial final four contender in the tournament is a great example of the new, tough task to come for the Owls.

“These teams, such as Louisville…some of the greatest facilities in the nation,” Janney said. “A lot of little things that add up and make a different for us.”

-Colin Tansits

Lacrosse

The women’s lacrosse is set to make the move from the Atlantic Ten Conference to the Big East in 2013.

Despite the transition, coach Bonnie Rosen said that nothing will change in the team’s approach. A new conference means new opponents, and that’s about it.

“It doesn’t change anything,” Rosen said. “We don’t care what conference we’re in, we’re looking to be the best.”

Although Rosen is reluctant to look too far in the future, she said she’ll be more than happy to accept any benefits that might come with the switch.

“If the Big East is a more nationally known conference to other people, that’s always great,” she said. “If it’s good for Temple, it’s good for us.”

-Mark McHugh

Baseball

First-year coach Ryan Wheeler said he is looking forward to the baseball team’s move to the Big East for the 2013 season.

“This is very exciting news for our program,” Wheeler said. “We will be joining a better baseball conference with better competition.”

“I am very happy with the players that we have now, but joining the Big East can only improve our recruitwing opportunities,” Wheeler added. “It will not make it any easier to recruit, but we have a chance at getting a little different caliber of player.”

This season the team is 8-10 overall and its roster features nine freshman and seven sophomores.

“We are ready for the challenges that lie ahead,” Wheeler said.

-John Murrow

Softball

A move to the Big East Conference and an opportunity to remove the Mid-Major label is something that has softball head coach Joe DiPietro excited.

“We’re thrilled about it,” DiPietro said. “We’re not a Mid-Major anymore obviously and the Big East is going to be a challenge but it’s a challenge we look forward to.”

The Big East will provide tough competition with nationally-ranked Louisville, South Florida and Villanova.

“It will definitely be a step up for us,” DiPierto said. “They have some really good teams at the top of the conference but we’re excited.”

The Owls have faced off with two of their future in-conference opponents this year, losing to Georgetown 4-0 and beating St. John’s 2-1 in the Citrus Classic.

-Brandon Stoneburg

Volleyball

As the Owls prepare to enter the Big East volleyball scene for the first time in school history, coach Bakeer Ganes said he plans on leading his team into familiar territory. Ganes served as the assistant coach for West Virginia University, who at the time was in the Big East. While he won’t be coaching against his former team, he still has a feel for the conference.

“It’s definitely more physical,” Ganes said. “The athletes in the Big East are just bigger, stronger and more athletic. They are all teams who can compete at the highest level.”

The Big East sent three teams to the NCAA championship in 2011, all of which made it to the second round. The Atlantic Ten Conference’s only representative, Dayton, was eliminated during first-round play.

Ganes cited that the move into the conference will attract more recruits. While he said he recruits Big East talent already, the name recognition of the bigger conference could play a decisive role.

“I know [Ganes] is already so excited,” sophomore Gabriella Matautia said. “Just the fact that he is so excited just spreads to us. It will definitely help with recruiting and bring a lot more attention to our athletic program.”

-Ibrahim Jacobs

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