After a week-long road trip in California, the game of lacrosse will be one of the last things on the minds of the Owls’ team and coaching staff.
Following two separate, fatal bus crashes involving the St. Michael’s College and Seton Hill lacrosse teams, the outcome of the incidents has forced the Owls into feelings of sympathy.
A bus carrying the Seton Hill women’s lacrosse team, en route to Millersville for a game, veered off the road and crashed into a tree Saturday morning. Bus driver Anthony Guaetta and second-year head coach Kristina Quigley and her unborn child died in the crash, and several other members of the team have been treated for injuries.
“It’s a horrible tragedy for the sports world,” coach Bonnie Rosen said. “It’s a sad and scary thing. My thoughts and prayers go out to the whole program.”
“It’s devastating,” junior attacker Jaymie Tabor said. “I can’t stop thinking about it. We’ve been talking about it nonstop.”
At the time of the crash, 30-year old Quigley, an Atlantic 10 Conference alumna with playing and coaching experience for Duquesne, was six months pregnant with a baby boy.
“The accident was a tragedy,” senior midfielder Stephany Parcell said. “It’s horrible. I can’t imagine going through that with my team. My thoughts and prayers are with that team. My heart goes out to them. I can’t imagine dealing with that.”
In addition to the tragic loss for the Seton Hill and A-10 family, another accident involving a different lacrosse team led to another casualty.
On March 12, approximately 150 miles north of New York City in Saratoga County, a bus carrying the St. Michaels College men’s lacrosse team was involved in a crash with another car. Slippery conditions caused the car to spin out of control and crash into the team bus. After the team bus was flipped on its side, members of the lacrosse team were virtually unscathed, but a passenger in the other vehicle was pronounced dead.
“It’s just really tragic when accidents happen. As a coach, it’s your worst nightmare for your team to be put in that situation,” Rosen said.
The Owls could not avoid concerns for their own well being following the news of multiple crashes involving multiple collegiate lacrosse teams not too far from Philadelphia.
With the team on its way back from California, some players want to make sure everyone traveling is aware of the dangers involved with long trips and hopes to promote more attentiveness to things that may sometimes be overlooked.
“You don’t always think that something like that could happen, but it had happened twice. We were talking about having a talk about that because something like that can happen and we have to be prepared,” Tabor said.
Player safety, whether on or off the field, is always a chief concern for coaches, families and the players themselves, Rosen said.
“We’ve been very fortunate in everything we do. Bus companies and bus drivers take our safety as a first priority,” Rosen said.
Though Temple has not faced any serious issues involving athletics and travel, two accidents in a span of five days will undoubtedly strike more conversations about the precautions made to keep teams, coaches and other drivers out of harm’s way.
“It’s definitely going to bring a lot more awareness to that,” Parcell said. “Maybe there will be more safety, coming off of tragedies. Hopefully there are more safety regulations. Every team travels on these types of buses. So, if they can find ways to make everybody safer, then that’s definitely something that should be done.”
Brien Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BErick1123.