Temple lacrosse was eyeing to upset nationally ranked the University of Florida after trailing by just one goal at halftime.
The Owls (3-8, 0-1 American Athletic Conference), however, struggled in the final 30 minutes and allowed Florida (6-6, 1-0 The American) to nine second-half goals in a 15-8 loss on Saturday at Howarth Field.
Saturday was Temple’s first women’s lacrosse game in The American.
Sophomore Jen Rodzewich scored the Owls’ first two goals as Temple jumped out to an early 4-1 lead. Coach Bonnie Rosen believes the Owls’ first half was their best all season.
“We couldn’t ask for a much better first half out of our team,” Rosen said. “Coming into it we knew it was going to be a really difficult game but we certainly had a sense of maybe we can get this done today. Then Florida came out and opened up that lead with some draw controls and good shooting down the stretch.”
Florida, which is ranked No. 18 in the Inside Lacrosse Poll, took its first lead with 16 seconds left in the first half. After Temple sophomore midfielder Bridget Whitaker tied the game at six early in the second half, the Gators went on a nine-goal run to put the game out of reach.
“We knew that Florida was going to be a really aggressive team, so we knew that we had to score a lot of goals,” Rodzewich said. “So I think it was important that we possess the ball, but also had the drive to keep scoring.”
Three Florida players recorded a hat trick. Florida sophomore attacker Grace Haus tallied four goals and one assist, while senior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck and sophomore midfielder Shannon Kavanagh scored three goals each.
With the game out of reach, Rosen played several freshmen in the final 15 minutes. Freshman midfielder Margot Hotham drew a penalty and scored her first career goal on a free-position shot with less than 10 seconds remaining in the game.
“Today was an opportunity at the end to get people some of that game day experience,” Rosen said. “While we would have liked to have been in the game down at the end, in the stretch, it was really great to see all of our young players, and even some of our older players who haven’t been on the field as much, get a chance to make their mark.”
Temple will look to bounce back Saturday against conference foe Connecticut (2-9, 0-1 The American) at 1 p.m.