Temple University women’s lacrosse fifth-year defender Kara Nakrasius scored with just 24 seconds left in Sunday’s match to give the No. 24 Owls (6-3, 2-2 The American Athletic Conference) a 9-8 win over Old Dominion University (3-8, 1-3 The American) at the L.R. Hill Sports Complex.
The win completed the weekend sweep for Temple, which also defeated the Monarchs 18-8 Friday. Temple picked up its first two conference wins after being swept in the conference opener by the University of Florida March 19 and March 21.
“We took care of business this weekend, and that was really, really good,” said head coach Bonnie Rosen. “Our goal is to get ourselves into the conference tournament, and the way to do that is to finish in the top four. To get two wins is one more step in the right direction, and we’ve eliminated one team in that process.”
Monarchs sophomore attacker Lilly Siskind, who leads the team in goals this season with 22, was limited by Owls senior defender Courtney Taylor and scored just three goals on the weekend.
“These were important games for us to win,” Rosen said. “[Taylor] played on Siskind all weekend, and she just made it very hard on her. She’s the go-to for a lot of ODU’s offense, so that really helped our defense and offense stay grounded all weekend. She just worked really hard to make life miserable for her.”
Temple dominated Friday’s game from start to finish and showed off its depth with significant contributions from the bench. Nine different players scored, and six players scored coming off the bench.
“What made Friday easier was playing more people,” Rosen said. “Getting fresh legs on the field that could win the 50-50 ground balls and who had the energy to do the little extra runs and were fresh enough to move their feet on defense. I would say today that was the key to winning the game, actually getting contributions from the bench.”
Sunday’s game was a different story, as the Monarchs jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 49 seconds into the game and held Temple scoreless until the 13:59 mark of the first half, when senior midfielder Bridget Whitaker tied the game at 1-1.
The Monarchs responded at the 13:03 mark to take a 2-1 lead, and they proceeded to hold Temple scoreless for close to seven minutes before Temple sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Roth tied the game at 2-2. The Monarchs would then score two straight goals to take a 4-2 lead into halftime.
Sunday was the lowest first half scoring output for Temple so far this season.
“We were getting shots right in front of the cage, but shooting the ball right into the goalie’s stick,” Rosen said. “We needed a little more composure to fake high and shoot low. We thought the ball would just go in because we were quicker, but she did a great job of tracking the ball and making saves.”
The second half was a battle of runs. Temple senior midfielder Jackie Cerchio and fifth-year attacker Meghan Hoffman scored at the 28:29 and 27:29 marks, respectively, to tie the game at 4-4, but the Monarchs scored three minutes later to make the score 5-4.
The Monarchs held that lead for more than 10 minutes before Nakrasius scored twice at 13:01 and 12:09, and Hoffman scored at 10:08 to take a 7-5 lead.
A 3-0 run by the Monarchs followed as they took an 8-7 lead with 6:32 remaining in the game, but Temple sophomore midfielder Belle Mastropietro scored on a free position at the 4:12 mark to tie the game at 8-8.
The Monarchs had a chance to take the lead with 3:19 remaining, but junior goalkeeper Shana Hecht made a save to keep the game tied, and Temple’s defense forced two turnovers and cleared the ball into ODU’s half.
The Monarchs then committed a foul, putting Temple up a player with about a minute remaining. Nakrasius scored right in front of the goal to give Temple the game-winning lead.
“The key in the end is our starters need to be able to get it done,” Rosen said. “It was great. I was happy to see them get some goals back in, and the way that they did it was exactly how we needed her to.”
Temple will stay on the road as the Owls travel to play the University of Cincinnati (4-6, 0-4 The American) in a two-game series on April 2 and April 4.