Through seven games of the 2015 season, the Temple women’s lacrosse team has already matched its win total from all 16 games of 2014. With Friday’s 10-8 win against Iona, the Owls’ winning streak reached three games, and moved their record to 6-1.
For one of the few times this season, Temple took advantage of its opponent early on, jumping out to a 4-1 lead within the first 10 minutes.
“We’re approaching each game with a routine on how you get ready, and trying to learn to do it better each time,” coach Bonnie Rosen said. “It’s still just about how to be ready, but each game has variables in terms of how much warmup time we have gotten because of weather, and there has been a lot of things changing. We’re just trying to get our bodies and minds ready to go come game time.”
The Owls’ hot start can be attributed in large part to three goals from junior attacker Kathryn Skahan – her first career hat trick.
“The help really wasn’t coming on their defensive slides,” Skahan said, explaining her early scoring. “When I was able to drive, I was able to get my shot off without the second defender sliding up on me.”
However, three minutes later, Iona’s Rachelle Serafini found the back of the net to cap a three-goal run that tied the score at 4.
With 15 minutes, 11 seconds left in the first half, sophomore midfielder Krissy Gallivan scored on a free-position goal for the Owls, followed three minutes later by freshman Nicole Barretta’s ninth tally of the season, putting Temple up 6-4.
Junior attacker Megan Pinkerton added another score with 2 minutes, 53 seconds left in the half, but Iona responded with Erin Pugh’s third goal of the game just under the one-minute mark, leading to a 7-5 halftime lead for the Owls.
Forty seconds into the second half, the Gaels scored to cut the deficit to one, but Owls junior attacker Nicole Tiernan put her team back up by two a minute later with her team-leading 17th goal of the season.
Temple’s lead was cut to one twice more during the game, but after junior attacker Rachel Schwaab’s fourth goal of the season increased the Owls’ lead to 10-8 with 14 minutes, 21 seconds left in regulation, Iona didn’t score again.
Temple’s defense, along with holding the Gaels scoreless for a good portion of the second half, caused 18 turnovers throughout the game.
“It started with the lead defense,” junior captain defender Maddie McTigue said about her team’s aggressive effort. “We really did a good job of keeping them in front of us, and then getting in and coming up with a lot of great back checks that led to turnovers.”
On offense, Temple was able to secure 23 ground balls and 12 draw controls compared to 16 ground balls and eight draw controls for Iona, leading to seven more shots for the Owls. Despite the dominance in possession, Temple only managed two more goals than its opponent.
“I think what is really exciting is that we are generating scoring opportunities,” Rosen said. “But whether it’s a fast break opportunity or our settled offense, we are not always finishing those scoring opportunities, and we are going to have to get back to practice and work to get better at that.”
“Every time we get either [a ground ball or draw control], it gives us another chance to have an opportunity on offense,” Skahan said. “Especially when we get to cause turnovers, we have the momentum and we have the ball moving up the field at a very fast pace.”
The Owls will face Rutgers next Wednesday in a game that gives them a chance to exact revenge on the team that ended their 2014 season in an 11-10 defeat last April.
Matt Cockayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mattcockayne55.