For the past two Saturdays, former Owls ran up and down the green turf of Geasey Field.
To prepare for new rules implemented by the NCAA rules committee, alumnae have participated in an intrasquad scrimmage with Bonnie Rosen’s squad to simulate the upcoming changes.
Coaches operate the scoreboard at Geasey Field, call timeouts and make substitutions. Referees call fouls and check sticks after goals. The only thing missing is the crowd.
“Our play is still a little sloppy or sometimes a little stagnant and other times offensively, so the opportunity to work through that in the scrimmage and not learn about that come game day is helpful,” Rosen said following a Jan. 30 scrimmage. “Our team saw some different style of play that they don’t get to see every single day, and I think it reminded them that they’ve got opponents they’re about to play.”
In 2015, Temple had its best start in 18 years. Rosen’s team jumped out to an 8-1 record, including an 11-6 win against the University of Delaware, the then-No. 19 team in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association poll, before beginning Big East Conference play.
When conference play began, the Owls won two of their final seven games, finishing in sixth place for the second consecutive season after joining the Big East in 2014.
“One of the things we’ve been focused on is the ability to learn and grow, and that’s been a focus in our preseason on how to keep pushing our ability to learn new things and adapt,” Rosen said. “And really the teams that win down the stretch are the ones that can keep growing their game and not stay the team that they were to start the season.”
The top six scorers from last year’s team return, including preseason All-Big East senior midfielder Nicole Tiernan, who led the team with 35 goals last season. After having four seniors last season, the Owls have a veteran team with 13 seniors on their 31-player roster.
“I think the senior class really brings the strong point of the team, since there are so many of them and they’ve had three years of experience together,” said former defender Carli Fitzgerald, who played from 2012-15 and was a captain on last year’s team. “So I think it’s going to be a great season.”
The Owls ranked seventh out of eight Big East teams in assists per game last season with 2.44 per game. Temple is looking to generate more scoring chances through ball movement, with a focus on senior attacker Rachel Schwaab, who led the team with 14 assists in 2015.
“We are looking to her to help really organize the offense and be able to control the pace of the offense and either start the ball movement or finish the ball movement with an assist or a goal,” Rosen said. “So she will be integral to kind of the way our offense is functioning as it’s currently designed.”
The team is ranked sixth in the Big East Preseason Poll and will open play against the University of Louisville, No. 15 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association preseason poll, Feb. 12 at Geasey Field.
Evan Easterling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Evan_Easterling.