Temple lacrosse coach Kim Ciarrocca is a little upset. Not at her team or its performance, but rather at the fact that the Owls (4-3) have yet to be ranked in the national poll.
A team with a record of 4-3 would normally not show up under the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association’s (IWLCA) weekly poll which ranks the top 20 teams in Divisions I-III weekly.
But look at the week five poll and there are several teams with sub .500 records, including several teams the Owls have already competed against. Thus far Temple has played five schools that are ranked nationally, including No. 4 Virginia (8-2), No. 15 Old Dominion (8-4), No. 20 Boston (3-3) and No. 18 UPenn. Next Wednesday the Owls will square off against No. 2 Princeton.
“It’s better than playing all the teams you can beat easily,” said junior midfielder Deanna Radcliffe of the teams rigorous schedule, “then you don’t know how good you can be.”
To say the Owls are good might be an understatement after last season where Temple won the Atlantic 10 title and gained a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Having lost only one key player in Veronica George, the Owls are backed by seven returnees and a handful of newcomers that look to make some noise on the national scene.
Senior attacker Noelle Cebron has been the glue of this Temple team and leads the Owls in total points (19), assists (7) and is tied with three other teammates in goals (12). She was recently named the A-10 player of the week in which she had nine points on five goals and four assists in a win over Penn State and a loss to Virginia.
“It’s all about teamwork,” said Cebron of her award. “The team is coming together more and more and we’re going to work to make each other open and I just have to be open.”
“Noelle had a good week,” said Ciarrocca of her seniors’ performance. “She’s going at it hard and she’s playing real smart on the attack right now. She’s the quarterback of our attack and she’s doing a nice job.”
In a 13-6 win over Lafayette Tuesday, the Owls demonstrated how speed can propel them into the rest of their game.
Radcliffe led the team with three goals and juniors Patience Synnestvedt, Jessica Yemm and senior Jennifer Jefferson each scored two goals. Senior Robin Keevan and junior Liz Frengs handed out two assists each, while junior goalkeeper Sheena Oommen had 14 saves.
Awareness on the defensive end has also allowed the Owls to jump right into their attack, and when in the midfield, crisp passing and spacing has given the attackers clear looks.
“Midfield passing is a big part (of the attack),” Radcliffe said. “Basically our tactic is spreading [the field] out and not cluttering in.”
“I think the key is our shooting,” Ciarrocca said. “We’re getting a ton of shots, we just have to be more accurate and our defense has to start playing a little bit better as a group also.”
Lacrosse is a total team sport in which a team needs all of its parts properly working in order for it to function. Temple carries the weapons for a mass destruction with its experience, determination and teamwork. As it approaches its A-10 schedule, the team sees the blueprint for success.
“Being a lot smarter; perception is key, a lot of movement off the ball … working together and setting picks for each other,” Cebron said. “You can’t work for yourself out there; you’re not going to go anywhere with it.”
Chris Silva can be reached at CBSRICAN@aol.com