Owls lose to Gators in AAC Championship game

Temple University lacrosse lost to the University of Florida 19-4 on May 8 in the American Conference Championship game.

Sophomore midfielder Belle Mastropietro passes the ball during the Owls' game against Saint Joseph's University at Howarth Field on March 13. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / FILE

About six minutes into the second half, the University of Florida scored their 13th goal of the game, increasing their lead to 10 and resulting in a running clock.  

Temple University lacrosse (12-5, 7-3 The American) was blown out by the Gators (16-2, 10-0 The American) 19-4 in the American Conference Championship game in Gainesville, Florida Saturday afternoon.

The Owls were overmatched by the Gators’ aggressive offense and fast-break shooting. Additionally, Temple’s offense did not make enough shots on goal and had several turnovers. 

“We knew that Florida was going to be quite the formidable opponent,” said head coach Bonnie Rosen. “We were hoping to give them a much better game than we gave them today, but, they’re strong, they’re strong all over the field.”

Temple had a slow start in the first half and did not score until senior midfielder Bridget Whitaker made the first goal off an 8-meter shot about 10 minutes into the game. The Gators already led by five, but Temple still had an opportunity to come back. 

Towards the end of the first half, the Owls’ defense slowed down the pace and marked up on the Gators’ offense, which resulted in a scoring drought from both teams for about seven minutes.

The Owls entered the second half with a nine-point deficient after not scoring in the first half.

“Between fouling and some turnovers, it put us in a little bit of a hole,” Rosen said. “At halftime, we talked about some of the adjustments we were making and we really talked about keeping a strong mentality throughout the entire game, regardless of what the score was.” 

The Gators had six different goal scorers compared to the Owls, who had three. Florida senior midfielder Shannon Kavanagh and redshirt-senior attacker Brianna Harris combined for a total of 12 goals.  

Five minutes into the second half, Owls’ sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Roth, who did not play in the semi-final game, scored her first goal of the game. Owls junior goalkeeper Shana Hecht and senior goalkeeper Olivia Martin totaled seven saves out of the Gators’ 35 shots.  

Although Temple recorded 14 shots, they struggled to keep the ball safe in their stick and make clean checks against the Gators, which resulted in a total of 19 turnovers and 18 fouls against the Owls. 

However, the Gators made dangerous checks and extended their stick out into the Owls multiple times, which resulted in Florida totaling 32 fouls.  

Sophomore midfielder Bella Mastropietro, who scored two out of Temple’s four goals, had a diverse impact in all areas of the field. Mastropietro won seven out of 14 draw controls and had one turnover throughout the game. 

“[Mastropietro’s] biggest strength is she does seem to really learn to regain and as the game was going on, she was figuring out more in the draws, she was helping with the transition of the ball and coming up with ground balls,” Rosen said. 

Despite the large deficit, Temple continued to keep the momentum up by containing a fast tempo on the field, but its defense could not keep pace against the Gators’ offense by the end of the game. This led Florida to score eight goals in the second half and win the American Athletic Conference Tournament.  

Temple still has an opportunity to make the NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament and will find out during the selection show on May 9 whether they will receive a bid, Rosen said. 

“I’m really so proud of our team for moving around this year to break through, we have kind of high performance here,” Rosen added. “That sets a standard expectation on maturity moving forward for the future groups.” 

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