Owls’ defense stomps Mountaineers

Temple's #23 Senior Midfielder Kelsey Zenuk and Mount Saint Mary's #28 Freshman Attacker/Midfielder Erin Seipp
JAZMYNE ANDERSON TTN Senior midfielder Kelsey Zenuk, who made an assist in the game, cradles the ball away from a Mount St. Mary’s defender. The Owls (3-0) defeated the Mountaineers, 12-3, on Saturday at Geasey Field.

The Owls won their first three games for first time since 1998.

The women’s lacrosse team continued its early season success by shutting down Mount St. Mary’s offense in a 12-3 win on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Geasey Field.

The Owls (3-0) struck early and often, obtaining a three-goal lead in the first three minutes of play, establishing a secure cushion that the Mountaineers were never able to overcome.

Temple’s defense stifled the visiting Mount St. Mary’s team, limiting them to just nine shots and forcing 21 turnovers.  Coach Bonnie Rosen said she was pleased with her team’s defensive exhibition.

“We took advantage of ground balls and did a good job of not giving them second chances,” Rosen said.

The persistent pressure of the Owls’ defense allowed the offense to flourish in transition and assaulted the Mountaineers with 32 shots.

Leading the Temple attack were junior midfielders Charlotte Swavola, who scored three goals and dished out an assist, and Stephany Parcell, who had a game-high four goals.

Swavola’s speed and field presence has proved to be a significant reason why Temple is 3-0. She allows the Owls to get out and run and facilitates the attack with on-point passing and good leadership skills.

However, Swavola is reluctant to credit herself for the team’s early success, instead pointing to the senior leadership and tight-knit chemistry of the group.

“Our seniors put in a lot of work to make sure we’re on the same page,” Swavola said. “I’m learning from them. They’re great leaders.”

Swavola said that the team has gelled around that senior leadership and it’s showing early on in the season in the attitude and enthusiasm of the players.

“Chemistry is huge,” Swavola said. “The games are a lot more emotional.”

The Owls’ win against Mount St. Mary’s came just three days after a thrilling comeback victory at Rutgers, in which the Owls overcame an 11-6 second half deficit to stun the Scarlet Knights, 12-11.

Their opening game didn’t lack drama, either, as the Owls clawed their way to a 14-12 win against Oregon.

When asked if it was difficult to motivate the Owls for Saturday’s game coming off two gutsy battles, Rosen was eager to defend her team’s energy and will to win.

“It’s not difficult at all,” Rosen said. “When you come off of wins, you just want more of them.”

Rosen said that one of her team’s greatest strengths is its ability to never lose the hunger required to come in day in and day out and win games.

“Competitiveness is our strength,” Rosen said. “Our work ethic is fantastic.”

Even in blow-out wins like  Mount St. Mary’s, Rosen insists that her team can learn something.

“We learn how to handle a significant lead in these types of games,” Rosen said.

The Owls have already demonstrated a knack for pulling off tight games down the stretch, but their next test involves a four game road trip, which commences on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at Lehigh University. They then have two home games before starting their conference schedule on March 30 against St. Bonaventure.

Mark McHugh can be reached at mark.mchugh@temple.edu.

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