Last Wednesday afternoon, as the sun shone brightly on Geasey Field, the four graduating seniors on the Temple women’s lacrosse team walked to midfield with their parents to take pictures.
Captain defenders Molly Seefried and Carli Fitzgerald, attacker Macie Hauck, and goalkeeper Rachel Hall smiled for the camera, wearing their home jerseys for the final time. Two hours later, the Owls dropped a 9-7 contest to conference foe Villanova, eliminating them from the playoff race.
“I haven’t really thought of it [like it is my last home game] yet,” Hauck said following the game. “I don’t know. I really expected to be going past more games, and there are a lot of emotions right now. I think that for the end of the season we need to come together and finish out strong.”
Seefried was sidelined this spring with recurring concussion symptoms that stem from a blow to the head in the team’s final game of the fall season.
Seefried, who is taking a limited number of credits due to her injury, is not considered a full-time student. Due to NCAA regulations, the former full-time starter is barred from attending any team functions.
She was a vital part of Temple’s defense in 2014, causing 10 turnovers and finishing second on the team with 23 ground balls.
Hall, a Mullica Hill, New Jersey native, served as the backup goalkeeper to junior Jaqi Kakalecik this season, appearing in three games this season and recording three saves. After she started the first six games of 2014, and picked up one win during that stretch, the team decided to switch to Kakalecik in net.
Fitzgerald, who hails from Abington, has been a key member of the Temple defense this year, collecting 17 ground balls and causing nine turnovers. She has played in nine out of 14 games in 2015, and is part of the Owls’ five-player defensive rotation.
Hauck, a Hatfield, Pennsylvania native, has played in each game this season as the team’s lone senior attacker, tallying nine goals and four assists.
Junior Nicole Tiernan talked about the impact the four seniors have had on her.
“I have loved playing with all the seniors on this year’s team,” Tiernan, the team’s leading goal scorer, said. “I am a junior, so I haven’t known anything other than them. Having them here with us now is bittersweet because we know how soon they have to leave. Carli, Macie, Rachel, and Molly are such important parts to our team. They are all so important to us.”
“They brought a lot of leadership and experience,” junior captain and defender Kara Stroup added. “Their class has gone through a lot, and I definitely look up to a lot of those players for a number of different reasons.”
With only four players graduating this year, including two who aren’t part of Temple’s regular lineup in Seefried and Hall, the Owls could feature an experienced rotation next spring. While the team was mathematically eliminated from Big East Conference tournament eligibility following the defeat to Villanova, coach Bonnie Rosen said she wants her team to continue improving through the last two games.
“We are playing to finish out the season as strong as can be,” Rosen said. “Right now, I will take winning [our last two games] and getting better. We have [improved] this season and we also have to get better. This entire team returns pretty much for next year, but we’re playing as much for now as we are for the future.”
Matthew Cockayne can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.