During the first week of March, the women’s club lacrosse team came to a decision in its end-of-practice huddle.
For the past two seasons, the team came close to qualifying for the Mid-Atlantic Women’s Lacrosse League spring regional tournament, losing three games in 2014 and two in 2015, preventing the club from winning its conference.
After an undefeated fall season, the squad agreed it needed to repeat its success from the preseason and reach the tournament, a feat Temple has never accomplished.
“I’ve been on the team for my whole college career,” senior attacker Julia Nemeth said. “We have had good seasons, but we’ve never been undefeated or been able to go to regionals, and we’re in a really good position right now to go to regionals. The girls know that just based on our fall season and being undefeated, and you know we all want to get there.”
The club plays in the MAWLL Division II North conference, which includes Dickinson College, Drexel University, Rowan University, Rutgers University, The College of New Jersey, the University of Pennsylvania and Villanova.
In the fall, Temple played four conference opponents, defeating Rutgers, Drexel, Rowan and TCNJ.
The squad added non-conference victories against St. Joe’s and Princeton University and clinched the six-team Laxtoberfest Tournament Championship at Rider University with a 9-4 win against the Stevens Institute of Technology in the final.
The club, which finished 9-0 in the fall, started its spring season on Sunday against Villanova, losing 11-3. Temple will play all of the teams in the MAWLL North conference before the end of the regular season.
“The key to us going undefeated again is commitment and showing up every day wanting to win,” Nemeth said. “I think that makes a big difference.”
Junior midfielder and club president Emily Larson said freshman attacker and club vice president Katie Edmundowicz will have an impact on the offense this spring, and “the fastest girl on the team,” freshman defender Annie Briglia, will be playing a lot on defense.
Freshmen and sophomores make up about 70 percent of the Owls’ roster, but having a young team has not hampered Temple’s chemistry.
“Everyone knows the dynamic of the game, and we just work so well together,” said freshman defender Bridget O’Hanlon. “There were times [in the fall] when the ball would start all the way on defense, and we would be able to work it up and get a perfect shot. We can’t really time it any better. We have such good chemistry as a team.”
Junior goalkeeper Sammie Hogan leads the defense, making sure everyone knows who they’re guarding and where they have to be in their man-to-man scheme.
The club typically runs two offensive plays each semester, and Larson has tried to keep the strategy similar to recent years in an attempt simplify the offense.
“We always have a motion play and a regular play,” Larson said. “Other than that we hope the girls know in-game situations from playing in high school and coming up here. … We had the same president [Colleen McGettigan] last semester and the semester before, and I’m trying to keep it the same as she had it so we can keep our streak going.”
The Women’s Club Lacrosse League, ruled that the winner of each regional tournament will receive an automatic qualifier to the 2016 National Championship Tournament, which will be held at the BB&T Soccer Park in Winston-Salem, North Carolina from May 4-7.
“We’re just looking to play smart and not throw away the ball,” Nemeth said. “We have a tendency to rush and feel like we have to score right away, and then we make mistakes and turn the ball over. We have plays in place and we’re going to focus on finding the opportunities rather than just trying to make the opportunities.”
Matt Cockayne can be reached at email@example.com.