Temple University lacrosse coach Bonnie Rosen is prepared to make game-by-game changes to the Owls’ lineup and scheme as they head into the second half of their season against American Athletic Conference teams.
“We’re laser-focused on getting ourselves to our tournament,” Rosen said. “That is a step-by-step process and every single game matters.”
Rosen believes Temple’s (9-4, 2-0 The American) two-game winning streak in conference play and recent success stems from different players stepping up and making in-game adjustments. However, if the Owls want to continue winning, they’ll need to use several offensive styles to combat opponents’ man-to-man and zone coverage, she said.
Their back-to-back wins came against Vanderbilt University (8-5,1-1 The American) on April 2 and the University of Cincinnati (6-8, 0-2 The American) on April 9.
The Owls blew out the Commodores 20-9, marking the largest scoring margin Temple has ever scored against Vanderbilt and the first time the program scored 20 goals in a game since 2012. Temple’s success came from scoring by committee and easing pressure off leading scorers graduate student midfielder Quinn Nicolai and junior midfielder Belle Mastropietro.
Temple had seven goal scorers. Junior attacker Riley McGowan, who didn’t play any minutes last season, led the team with a career-high of seven goals and Nicolai trailed with four. While junior midfielders Mackenzie Roth, Charessa Crosse, junior attacker Julie Schickling and Mastropietro each had two goals.
“It’s getting easier to coach this team,” Rosen said. “They’ve been through a lot now and different players are finding ways to step up all over the field to make plays and that’s all we had to do — each player find a place to make a play.”
However, the Owls needed to compete for a full 60 minutes and made adjustments throughout the game in their 14-10 victory against the Bearcats. Temple struggled to gain early possession in the draw controls. In the first period, Cincinnati had six draw controls compared to Temple, who had two.
Rosen quickly noticed the issue and made the adjustment to put seven defensive players on the line and leave three attackers, a change she’s implemented in previous games when the team struggles to retain possession.
“It took a little bit for us to figure out how to battle the draw controls,” Rosen said. “That was a big part of the game and our crew did a really fantastic job of just giving ourselves a chance to get that possession after draw controls.”
The Bearcats played a defensive zone, which helped contain the center of the circle and made it difficult for Temple to receive feeds from the outside. It also led to three-second violations and shooting spaces since the team is marking a space rather than a player.
Rosen told the Owls to take advantage of every 8-meter shot they got. Temple scored 5 of 15 in free-position shots with Mastropietro making two and Nicolai netting one, while both had four 8-meter shot opportunities.
“We actually spent a lot of time working on our 8-meters,” Rosen said. “While it didn’t fully show in our percentage of finishes today. I have no doubt it’s going to pay off down the stretch.”
Temple’s victory against Cincinnati marked the program’s 500th all-time win, making them the 6th program in Division I women’s lacrosse to surpass the 500-win threshold.
Rosen believes the Owls can still improve in certain areas. Because Temple shoots 77.1 percent on goal, she wants the offense to work with different styles to create new shot opportunities, like rolling the crease and feeds from inside the circle.
“We have room to continue to build so much chemistry and understand the different ways we can still play on our offensive end,” Rosen said. “We have so many people who can do so many things and we haven’t been able to sell that yet on the field.”
Temple has one week to prepare for a matchup against East Carolina on April 16 in Greenville, North Carolina. The Owls are using this time to reflect on their performance while scouting their opponent, which is a large component of Rosen’s coaching style.
“When we scout and discuss our game plan, it’s just translating it onto the field,” Nicolai said. “I think that when we do that, we’re really successful. We just have to keep our focus on that.”