Senior outfielder Lauren Evans expects big things from her softball teammates this season.
Evans said this year’s team has the potential to make the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament, after missing out on the postseason tourney last season. The Owls last made an appearance in the tournament in 2004, winning the title in Evans’ sophomore season.
“I definitely think we will make it to the tournament this year,” she said. “I think everyone has the heart to get it done.”
Evans said she expected the team would need time to adjust to the new coaching staff.
“It [took some] getting used to,” Evans said. “Right now, we are a young team. The [team is] going to learn consistently every year and it is just going to get even better after that.”
As the only senior on the team, a lot is expected of Evans. With 14 other players, Evans said she knows her role on the team is to lead.
“I think people look up to me just because I am that older one,” Evans said. “I have more experience in Division I. Sometimes, when somebody needs to be told something, I feel like people look at me to do it. I don’t have a problem with telling someone, ‘Get your head up’ or something like that. I have a very vocal role on the team and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Evans has had an impressive season so far. She is tied for the team lead in home runs and is second with nine runs batted in. Evans has hit .271 through 21 games. She ranks fourth with eight runs and her 13 hits tie her for fourth.
The Owls split Sunday’s doubleheader with A-10 foe Saint Bonaventure. Temple suffered a 9-1 loss in the first game, but took the second game with a 6-0 shutout victory.
Coach Casey Dickson said she was disappointed with the team’s performance in the first game.
“If anyone was here for the second game, they would know they saw a totally different team,” Dickson said.
The Owls (8-15, 2-2 A-10) mustered only one run in the first game. Junior outfielder Jessica Rohn scored on a sacrifice fly in the first inning. The Owls had two hits and one error, while the Bonnies (6-11, 1-3 A-10) had nine runs on seven hits and two errors.
The Owls’ pitching staff didn’t hold up against the Bonnies’ offense during the first game, Evans said.
“I think intensity was lacking and pitching was not up to par, for sure,” Evans said.
The second game was the complete opposite for the Owls. Pitching had been an issue for the team in the first game, but it proved to be their strongest point in the second match. Sophomore Jennifer Nacianceno pitched a complete game, one-hitter.
The Owls got their offense started in the bottom of the second inning with two runs from freshmen designated hitter Katie Burdeaux and infielder Danielle Fagan. The Owls had the chance to score a few more runs with runners on first and third base, but the Bonnies made a double-play off a Rohn hit, ending the second inning with three players left on base.
Sophomore infielder Amanda Carver, junior infielder Adrienne Repsher and Rohn each scored runs in the fourth inning to put the Owls up by five. Junior shortstop Brandie Mora added the Owls final run late in the fifth inning.
Solid pitching kept the Bonnies from scoring late in the game. Nacianceno struck out eight batters and only walked two, in her seven-inning performance. The Bonnies finished with one hit and two errors, while the Owls had nine hits and no errors.
The Owls will face city rival Penn this afternoon at 4 on their home field at the Ambler Sports Complex.
Melissa DiPento can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.