Lacrosse will not compete in the A-10 tournament.
The women’s lacrosse team saw its hopes of making the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament slip out of reach as they fell to No. 16 Massachusetts (16-1, 7-0 A-10) on a rainy afternoon, Sunday, April 22, at Geasey Field.
The Owls (9-8, 3-4 A-10) had high aspirations entering the season with eight experienced seniors and a myriad of talent in their favor. Their ultimate goal was clear: to win the A-10 title.
In coach Bonnie Rosen’s fifth year at the helm for the Owls, it was clear Rosen was confident in her team’s abilities from the start.
“We have a clearly defined mission to be A-10 champions,” Rosen said.
Her players were equally as confident, including senior midfielder Stephanie Markunas, who would go on to lead the team in points (55) and assists (25), while adding 30 goals.
“I can’t see us not winning the [A-10 title],” Markunas said earlier in the season.
The Owls’ lofty expectations appeared to be well within reach, as they began the season on a five-game winning streak, taking down Oregon and Rutgers in dramatic fashion. Their 5-0 start was the best they’ve had since 1988, in a year that the Owls cruised to an undefeated season and took home a national championship.
However, their success was short-lived, as they soon encountered a tough road trip that included a devastating 20-3 loss to No. 3 Florida.
It seemed as though the Owls never fully recovered from that road trip, posting a record of 4-8 after their initial five victories. Four of those eight losses came against A-10 teams, essentially ruining their chances of making the A-10 tournament, which accepts only the Top 4 seeds.
The Owls’ fate likely would have been different if it weren’t for possibly the most heartbreaking defeat of the season, in which they fell to conference-rival George Washington, (10-6, 4-3 A-10) 14-13 in overtime on April 13. George Washington eventually claimed the fourth and final seed in the A-10 tournament, finishing just one game ahead of the fifth-place Owls.
Temple’s loss on Sunday to UMass ensured that its season had come to end. As one would imagine, spirits were low.
“It’s really disappointing to see our season come to an end,” Rosen said after the UMass game. “We’re a team that could take the whole thing if we put it all together and we didn’t even give ourselves a chance to get to the tournament.”
Despite the disappointment, Rosen was able to put it all in perspective and added that she’ll never forget the special bond that this team formed.
“You always remember the relationships off the field,” Rosen said. “It’s amazing how the games seem to fade away but the players always stay.”
For eight of her players, however, Sunday was the last time they will take the field in a Temple uniform. Rosen said that she is pleased with the effort her seniors contributed this season and knows that the lessons they learned on the field will translate to real life in their future endeavors.
“We’re really proud of [the seniors] and all that they’ve accomplished. Today is a day that we take a moment to take in the fact that you learn from losses and you take the lessons from that for life,” Rosen said.
Among those not returning for the Owls are Markunas, defender Lauren Caminiti, midfielders Karly Cohen, Jackie Mercer, and Missy Schweitzer and goalkeeper Tess Bishop.
Mark McHugh can be reached at email@example.com.