Owls open season on a high note

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PAUL KLEIN TTN Midfielders junior Kellee Pace (left) and senior Missy Schweitzer (center) celebrate in the Owls’ win versus Oregon.

The lacrosse team defeated the Oregon Ducks in its opener.

Sophomore attacker Jamie Tabor spurred the lacrosse team to a season opening 14-12 win against the Oregon Ducks on Feb. 17 after netting all six of her goals in the final 20 minutes of play.

“We really pushed the pressure,” Tabor said. “The energy level was so high.”

The Owls were able to grind through a back-and-forth contest at Geasey Field, where fans from both sides filled the bleachers to capacity. The Ducks struck first toward the start of the first half, but Temple responded just nine seconds later with a goal to tie the game, the first of seven ties.

It was the first meeting the Owls had with the Ducks since the 2008 season, when Oregon defeated Temple 10-9.

In the recent contest, Temple managed to contain a dangerous and well-disciplined Oregon offense, which posted a 7-7 overall record last year in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Ducks’ drive-and-kick style of attack proved to be a test for the Owls’ defense.

“I was thrilled with the defense,” coach Bonnie Rosen said.

Although the Owls gave up twice as many goals in the second half as they did in the first, the offense picked up the slack with the help of Tabor.

Tabor credited her success to the intensity level her team was able to produce.

“I just want to help the team out,” Tabor said. “I wanted to get in a comfort zone, especially when the clock was running down.”

Rosen noticed Tabor’s improvement during preseason and said she was not surprised by her ability to rack up goals in the game.

“She didn’t back down and play it safe,” Rosen said. “She’s an explosive player, that’s what she brings.”

Supplementing Tabor on the offensive end were senior midfielder/attacker Jackie Mercer, who scored three goals, and senior midfielder Stephanie Markunas, who added two of her own. Junior midfielder Charlotte Swavola also played a significant role with her speed and field vision.

“We pushed the tempo the entire day and maintained an aggressive mentality,” Rosen said.

Neither team was able to maintain the momentum throughout the first 40 minutes of play, but Temple displayed its mental toughness by edging the Ducks late in the game when it counted.

Rosen said this type of game is crucial for building a championship caliber team.

“We’re learning how to compete, how to win,” Rosen said. “We showed a mental edge.”

That edge was imperative to this opening win, but Rosen said that if the Atlantic Ten Conference Championship is going to be in reach, her team will need to improve each day.

“There’s so much to build on,” Rosen said. “We need to work on our execution and finding a balance offensively.”

The Owls will look to keep their early-season momentum going as they face Rutgers on Wednesday in New Brunswick, N.J.

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

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