Freshmen Abby Overman and Olivia Thompson dreamed about playing college lacrosse together since Thompson asked Overman about her club team in their sixth-grade tech-ed class. Thompson was interested in trying out for Check-Hers Elite, a Maryland-based club team.
Seven years later, Overman and Thompson’s dreams are coming true. They are two of the 12 Owls who played together in high school or on a club team. Six of the Owls’ 10 true freshmen played with someone else on the team before they enrolled at Temple.
“It definitely happens,” coach Bonnie Rosen said. “When you start to watch one person from a club team, you start to notice other people from that team.”
That was the case with freshman midfielder Maddie Gebert, freshman midfielder and defender Michelle Koscinski and freshman midfielder Kara Nakrasius. They all played for the Brandywine Majors Girls Lacrosse Club, based in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
“I think they had a really special year, and that’s what we saw, them as a group together that was doing something special,” Rosen said.
In the past five years, the Owls have signed six recruits from Brandywine Majors, including senior midfielder Morgan Glassford. Koscinski said Glassford was “always a role model” for the freshman trio.
Koscinski and Nakrasius also played high school lacrosse together at Garnet Valley High School in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. They ended Gebert’s career at Owen J. Roberts High School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania during the second round of the state playoffs in June.
“It was pretty funny because we actually started my senior season together,” Gebert said. “So I started and ended my senior season playing them.”
Senior attacker Anna Frederick, her sister, freshman midfielder Lizzie Frederick and redshirt-freshman defender Taylor Gooch all played together at Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, Delaware.
Likewise, graduate attacker Brenda McDermott and junior defender Kaitlin Suzuki played together at North Penn High School in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.
Five out of the eight players who will join the Owls in Fall 2017 played together for the Ultimate Lacrosse Club, which has teams in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
“We are always out looking,” Rosen said. “We can trust recommendations from coaches, but we really pride ourselves recruiting-wise on finding the right kids, not out of a pipeline.”
In the past eight years, Temple has signed six recruits from Check-Hers Elite, including senior attacker Brooke Williams and junior midfielder Haile Houck.
If the coaches find a group of players from the same club or high school team in the same graduating class, they make sure they are open to playing with each other in college before recruiting them, Rosen said.
“If we sense any sort of reluctance to want to play together then that normally ends recruiting multiple people from that club,” she said.
Though Thompson and Overman visited Temple together and talked about playing together, Nakrasius was the first of the Brandywine Majors players to commit. When Koscinski became more interested in Temple, she asked Nakrasius if it would be OK with her, and they formed a better bond. Gebert was the last to commit. Koscinski said when she did, all three players “clicked.”
The past connections have helped with chemistry on the field. Nearly half of Temple’s goals are assisted, compared to 41.3 percent last year. But the players don’t just cling to who they knew before they came to Temple.
“What I am most proud of is that we are not a team full of cliques,” Rosen said. “I think that it helps because they are grounded in some friendships that came from the past, so they are even more comfortable to reach out and get to know other people.”
“I think it really helps just our chemistry in general,” Thompson said. “Everyone gets along really well, and it shows on the field, not playing selfish and everyone is in it together. That’s really important, and I think it really helps us in the long run.”
Tessa Sayers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SayersTessa.