Following the women’s lacrosse team’s gut-wrenching 11-10 loss to Rutgers last year that ended the Owls’ season, coach Bonnie Rosen looked into the future at her postgame press conference.
“This one hurts,” she said at the time. “But it will build a better program for years to come.”
So far in the team’s following season, Rosen’s team is now 6-1 through its first seven games, and winners of its last three. The Owls will play the Scarlet Knights on the road Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a revenge game under the lights.
“The past has nothing to do with it,” Rosen said. “I’m sure our players will carry a little bit of [revenge] with them, and if that works to our advantage, then they’re welcome to carry a little payback.”
Recently, Temple’s offense has been playing well, especially in crunch time, scoring 37 goals in its last three games, including 19 in the second half of each contest.
Junior midfielder Nicole Tiernan has been crucial to the Owls’ success. The 2015 All-Big East Conference preseason team selection has scored 14 of her team-best 17 goals during her last four games, including a five-goal effort against Wagner College last Wednesday.
She also leads the team with 16 draw controls and 13 caused turnovers. Nicole’s twin sister, junior midfielder Megan Tiernan, said she thinks the Owls will need production from everybody on the roster if they want to top the Scarlet Knights.
“Last year we had a lot of different scorers, but this year we have the potential to have more,” Megan Tiernan said. “I think, with our different offenses and plays [this year], that we can utilize a lot more people and score more.”
Fresh off its move out of the Big East and into the Big Ten conference, Rutgers has not fared well through the non-conference portion of its schedule. The Scarlet Knights are 1-5 so far in 2015, with their lone win coming in their first game against Villanova.
Regardless of the fact that Rutgers is no longer a Big East team, Owls junior goalkeeper Jaqi Kakalecik thinks the match will have the same conference atmosphere that it usually does.
“It will definitely be exciting because it’s going to be a night game, and it’s going to be under their lights in their stadium,” Kakalecik said. “We always have a really good rivalry with Rutgers, but we just have to treat it like any other game. I’m sure it will come off as a bit of a conference game.”
With a win against Rutgers on Wednesday, the Owls would be in good shape with two games left to play on their non-conference schedule. The team would benefit from a motivated win at Rutgers, it’ll face Florida, which is currently ranked fourth in Division I, and Vanderbilt, which sports a 3-3 record, in respective games to kick off the conference schedule.
“[Last year’s Rutgers game] is hard to get out of our minds,” Megan Tiernan added. “It was a really rough game. Both teams played really well, but they just outplayed us.”
Sophomore midfielder Morgan Glassford, who had four goals in last year’s match against the Scarlet Knights, admitted that last year’s loss will be used as motivation for this year’s game.
“It is definitely motivating,” Glassford said of the defeat. “Especially because it ended our season last year. I think getting the win this year would increase our confidence and it would give us some closure.”
Matt Cockayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mattcockayne55.