After competing in the National College Lacrosse League since 1998, Temple University men’s club lacrosse joined a new conference and league this season.
The Owls joined the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association and will compete in the Continental Lacrosse Conference. The Owls will play in the East subdivision against Boston College, the University of Connecticut, Northeastern University and the University of New Hampshire. New Hampshire won the east subdivision in the 2019 season with a 12-1 overall record.
The team qualified for the NCLL National Tournament for the past two seasons, but they believe teams in the league will target them as an easy win, said Luke Brennan, senior midfielder and club president.
“I think we have a target on our back from all the other teams, seeing a newcomer may seem like fresh blood in the water,” said Brennan, a finance major. “I think we are really up there in terms of talent, and hopefully our goal would be to at least make our conference championship and playoffs.”
The Owls began transitioning to the MCLA in Fall 2018 and faced four MCLA opponents in Spring 2019.
They beat two MCLA teams — West Virginia University and Central Connecticut State University — and lost to the University of Pittsburgh and Northeastern University. Pittsburgh finished third in the West subdivision of the CLC.
Because Temple does not have a varsity men’s team, they were eligible to switch leagues, coach Chris Berkelbach said.
The Owls have high expectations for the first season in the league and are motivated to prove they belong and won’t be overlooked, Brennan said.
“We bring back five or six starters and they’re all juniors and seniors,” Berkelbach added. “Those guys who had that experience playing in these types of games last year will be really helpful. We have six coaches and four of them have MCLA experience so they will be able to help us prepare right away for these games.”
The Owls will have to adjust to the higher skill level of MCLA teams, junior defenseman Gaige Barber said.
“It’s just the most competitive, most structured, most organized form of non-NCAA lacrosse,” Barber, a mechanical engineering student, said.
The Owls will prepare more thoroughly for games this season by watching film of their opponents and being more critical of themselves, Berkelbach said.
“We are going to play some really high energy games and some tight games, I think the preparation up to those games is something we are going to put more hours into this year,” Berkelbach added.
Temple will start the season on Feb. 15 against Central Connecticut State University at Geasey Field.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the team tied three MCLA teams in Spring 2019. The team won two scrimmages and lost two.