Owls relying on defensive effort at beginning of season

The team has allowed 14 goals in three games.

Senior midfielder Megan Tiernan drives during the second half of the team’s 13-2 win against La Salle at Geasey Field last Wednesday. | JOSHUA DICKER TTN

After losing the ball on offense in the second half of last Wednesday’s win against La Salle, the Owls’ attackers pressured the Explorers’ junior defender Danielle Strang with a double-team in the corner to force a turnover.

Senior attacker Brenda McDermott picked up the ground ball and made a pass to Morgan Glassford, helping the junior midfielder score her second goal of the game.

“I think we work a lot on getting the ball back in transition and that’s defense all together,” Glassford said. “We have to pressure the defenders as attackers and just pushing them back to their defensive end so we can eventually get the ball back. It’s very important for attackers to defend.”

Defensive play has been a point of emphasis in the Owls’ opening games of the season. Temple has allowed 14 total goals in three games and six  goals in the team’s two wins.

Temple forced eight turnovers in Sunday’s 17-4 win against the University of California, Davis.

After building a 7-1 lead, the Owls allowed two goals in 40 seconds. coach Bonnie Rosen called timeout with four minutes, two seconds left in the half with her team in the attacking zone. Senior attacker Rachel Schwaab scored 1:45 later to start a 5-0 run for the Owls.

“We had a few moments that we allowed them to start to make a run back and we stopped it before they got more than two goals back on us,” Rosen said. “And really the game of lacrosse is a game of swings and four-goal swings happen easily, so to stop it before a four-goal swing is really a key, and that happened.”

The Owls limited LaSalle, which averaged 26.8 shots per game last season, to six shots in their 13-2 win.

A combination of team defense and individual mark-ups limited Louisville— which had the No. 22 offense in Division I last season—scoring 12.56 goals per game to eight goals in the Owls’ season-opening loss last week. At the time, Louisville was No. 16 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association poll.

After three games, the Owls have a plus-21 goal differential. Rosen believes good defense and scoring go hand-in-hand.

“I’m a firm believer that defense is the key to playing a good offense,” Rosen said. “And I love the fact that our players came out ready to hustle and work the transition play so that we could cause turnovers and see if we could create some easy opportunities.”

McDermott, who scored a hat trick against UC Davis, appreciates the offensive opportunities the defense has been creating.

“They definitely anchor the whole team and their ability to get caused turnovers and getting the ball back for us is just definitely amazing,” McDermott said. “They’re playing really great.”

Evan Easterling can be reached at evan.easterling@temple.edu or on Twitter @Evan_Easterling.

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