Different sport, same result.
Temple continued its recent dominance over city rival Saint Joseph’s last Thursday, this time thanks to a 9-8 victory by the women’s lacrosse team in their Atlantic Ten Conference opener.
Sophomore midfielder Chelsea Rosiek scored a free-position goal with 4.6 seconds remaining in regulation to break an 8-8 tie.
“I wasn’t going to blow it,” Rosiek said. “You don’t want to have to go into overtime. If you can finish it in regulation, you’re going to finish it in regulation.”
After a first half that saw the Owls (4-3, 1-0 A-10) trailing the Hawks, 5-2, it didn’t look like overtime would even enter the discussion.
Defensive and offensive adjustments at halftime, however, enabled Temple to score six goals in just over 10 minutes in the second half. That helped the Owls jump out to an 8-6 lead before St. Joe’s (4-3, 0-1) scored two goals to tie it.
“We came out pressing a little too much in the first half,” coach Bonnie Rosen said. “Offensively, we were getting ourselves stuck in double teams. In the second half we knew the double teams were coming and how to work out of them. [Other] adjustments were made to tighten things up defensively, come up with 50-50 balls, ground balls, and have draw control.”
Temple’s 21-13 ground ball edge proved crucial in the final five minutes of the game. With the score tied, the Owls grabbed a grounder that allowed them to continue offensive play and control the ball for virtually the remainder of the game.
“The possession the last five minutes was so crucial for scoring at the end,” Rosiek said. “If we wouldn’t have possessed the whole five minutes, we wouldn’t have got that great shot at the end.”
Rosiek’s game-winning goal not only allowed the Owls to start conference play with a win, it also avenged last year’s 11-8 loss to St. Joe’s in the regular-season finale.
“Last year, we had kind of a rough game [against them],” senior attacker Nicole Caniglia said. “I think it was good to step it up [today] and show them who we are.”
The rest of the conference stands at notice.
Senior Whitney Richards received A-10 Player of the Week honors Monday.
The Owls, picked to finish third in an A-10 coaches’ preseason poll behind only Massachusetts and Richmond, are part of a “wide open A-10” according to UMass coach Alexis Venechanos.
“Temple returns a lot of starters, plays a strong out-of-conference schedule, and has experience in the tournament,” Venechanos said. “Even though Richmond has won the A-10 the past three years, there is no sure shot like in the past.”
The Spiders, though, feature perhaps the best player in the conference in junior Mandy Friend.
“Friend puts Richmond on her back and just makes plays for them,” Venechanos said. “She is the top player in the A-10.”
Friend and the rest of the Spiders will face the Owls on Sunday, April 13, in Richmond in one of the key games in the conference.
“Bring it on,” Caniglia said. “We want it. It’s the A-10s.”
Jennifer Reardon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.