After missing out on last year’s Atlantic 10 Conference tournament, the Owls had another close call this year.
Despite losing three conference games, including a loss to Richmond on April 10, the lacrosse team has clinched the No. 3 seed in the A-10 tournament and will face No. 2 Duquesne on Friday, April 26, in Amherst, Mass.
“Playing Duquesne is an exciting opportunity,” coach Bonnie Rosen said. “It’s nice for our players to know that they’re a beatable team, as I think all teams are. We don’t really care who we play to get through.”
Last season, a 3-4 conference record devalued a 9-8 overall record as Temple was eliminated from postseason contention, but a 4-3 conference record in 2013 proved to be enough to earn the Owls a berth in the four-team tournament.
Temple’s 16-15 loss to the Spiders and George Washington’s victory against St. Joseph’s University created a three-way tie between the Owls, Colonials and Spiders. With each team winning four A-10 games, a tiebreaker would decide the team to advance. Since Temple defeated Duquesne and George Washington during the regular season, the Owls earned the No. 3 spot, while the Colonials earned the No. 4 spot because of their regular season victory against Richmond.
From a seeding standpoint, Temple will be the underdog when it faces Duquesne, but the Owls boast a 16-9 road victory against the Dukes.
“They’re going to come after us because they want redemption, and we’re not just going to roll over them,” senior midfielder Stephany Parcell said. “We’re going to come at them the same way we came at them the first time.”
Since their loss to Temple in Pittsburgh, the Dukes have won three straight conference games.
“Sometimes it helps to know that you’ve beaten someone,” Rosen said. “I think that’s a nice piece, but we know they’re going to give us their best games. The real key is to stay focused on executing the small things.”
Temple holds regular season victories against two of the three tournament participants, but an A-10 Championship will likely go through the No. 1 seed and defending champion, No. 12 Massachusetts. The Owls fell 12-10 to the Minutewomen in the closing minutes of their regular season match at UMass on April 12.
“Every team that is going to be in the Atlantic 10 playoffs we’ve either beat or had a really good game, and I think that gives us confidence going forward,” senior goalkeeper Meghan Clothier said.
Temple and UMass are tied at five conference championships each, which means if the Minutewomen and Owls were to advance to the A-10 finals, the two programs would battle for the bragging rights of most A-10 tournament championships. UMass has won the last four conference titles. The last team to win the A-10 tournament crown before the Minutewomen’s run was the Owls in 2008.
“We have an idea of how they play,” senior defender Nina Falcone said. “Basically, if we bring our game, I think we can beat any team right now”.
With the Owls leaving the A-10 Conference to become Big East affiliates in 2014, this year’s postseason tournament will be Temple’s last opportunity to leave a mark on its longtime conference home. The non-conference schedule is over, the conference schedule is over, and for the departing Temple, this year’s conference tournament really will be win or go home.
“It’s just about playing well,” Rosen said. “It still doesn’t take more than playing well.”
Brien Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BErick1123.
CORRECTION: A version of this article that ran in print on Tuesday, April 23, incorrectly specified the number of conference games the lacrosse team lost this season. The Owls lost three conference games, not four.