With convincing wins over Atlantic 10 foes Massachusetts and Richmond, it seems Temple’s lacrosse team has got its groove back.
After dropping three straight games to nationally ranked teams and losing captain and third leading scorer Liz Frengs to injury, the Owls welcomed conference play with open arms.
They did just that last weekend, thumping Richmond, 18-10, last Sunday at Geasey Field.
The Owls (6-4, 2-0 A-10) never trailed, holding a 9-5 advantage at the intermission.
The Spiders cut the deficit to three with just under 19 minutes left.
Then the Owls caught fire, netting seven straight goals putting the game out of reach.
Senior midfielder Deanna Radcliffe, who had six goals last Friday against UMass, had another six-goal outburst over the Spiders.
Sophomore attacker Megan Condon also had six goals against the Spiders, as the Owls consistently kept possession of the ball deep in the Richmond zone.
Despite the tough losses to three of the nation’s top 15 schools, the Owls maintain that these games are making them a stronger team.
“We’ve played some of the best teams in the country and that can only help you get better,” coach Kim Ciarrocca said.
The Owls had lost some confidence, said senior goalkeeper Sheena Oommen.
“We did. You could see it, but at the same time we came together as a team,” Oommen said.
Before the game against UMass, a players-only meeting was held.
The team got together and reinforced to each other that, despite the losses and injuries, they wouldn’t let each other down in pursuit of their third straight A-10 title.
Now midway through the season Temple has overcome the non-conference schedule and has got its confidence back.
The win over Richmond gave Temple a near perfect 24-1 record in A-10 games since 1999.
Radcliffe asserts that the pressure to succeed in A-10 play is attributed to their winning ways over the past few years.
“For some reason we get more pumped up for them because it’s our conference,” she said.
“We just get more enthused, because we know we’ve done good in the past and that we have to live up to that standard again.”
Still, the absence of Frengs is critical. Her reputation for stepping up in big games is no secret, after twice being named the Most Outstanding Player in the conference tournament.
“She is a really key midfielder, so she’s been there on the sidelines supporting us a lot and in practice, so it feels like she’s there,” Radcliffe said.
According to Ciarrocca, seniors and juniors must pick up their leadership roles and the nine freshmen need to play like poised veterans.
Freshman attacker Patty Glavin looks like an early candidate for A-10 Freshman of the Year.
Last week she was named the conference’s top freshman of the week as she picked up some of the scoring slack.
She is also tied for the team lead in assists with seven.
“Patty doesn’t play as a freshman, that’s the one thing I’ve been saying all year,” Ciarocca said.
“And I said to the freshman when Liz got hurt and when we’ve had some other injuries that you can’t play like freshmen anymore.”
Two other newcomers that have seen significant action are midfielders Nicole Cataldo and Andrea Talese.
Cataldo has started every game, collecting three assists and 15 ground balls.
Talese has 10 goals thus far, complimenting Glavin as the team’s goal scorers for the future.
Jason Haslam can be reached at email@example.com.