Roth’s journey guides her toward all-time assists record

With the help of her former high school coach Dawn Cipolla, senior attacker Mackenzie Roth realized that Temple was the school she wanted to attend to continue her lacrosse career.

Temple attacker Mackenzie Roth pushing the offense against Saint Joseph's on March 4. JOSHUA CRELLIN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

When senior attacker Mackenzie Roth was deciding where to spend the next four years of her collegiate lacrosse career, her former high school coach Dawn Cipolla, a member of the 1988 Temple Lacrosse team that won an NCAA championship, knew Temple’s program would be the best fit for Roth’s future. 

Originally, Roth wanted to attend an Ivy League school to play lacrosse and work towards becoming a doctor. But eventually, Cipolla’s guidance helped Roth choose Temple, where she can play in a high level conference.

“I was really close with [Cipolla],” Roth said. “I knew she loved going to school here at Temple so that helped me pick to go to Temple.”  

Despite picking up lacrosse in just eighth grade, Roth used her natural speed, determination and grittiness to help adapt to the sport. Her ability to cradle the ball separated her from other players in high school who may have started playing the sport earlier. She was named her team’s most valuable player during her junior year and earned more than 100 draw controls in the midfield.

“Mackenzie always knew I went to Temple, and then [Temple head coach Bonnie Rosen] came to our games,” Cipolla said. “When Temple was interested in her, I told her it’s a really good school. It’s great academically and not as expensive as other schools. You know, I said to her that I think she’s really gonna get a lot of playing time on that team.”

Fast-forward four years later, Roth has become one of the most important pieces of Temple’s roster and is nearing the program’s all-time assists record. This season she has scored 17 goals and tallied 16 assists through the first 12 games, orchestrating the offense alongside midfielder Belle Mastropietro and attacker Julie Schickling, her freshman roommate. 

Roth and Schickling are on the field together for almost the entirety of every game. This season, Schickling has scored 19 goals on 47 shots. Roth’s guidance and ability to set up Schickling near the goal has been a large reason for her scoring success, Schickling said.

“She’s our behind the cage player,” Schickling said. “She has a big view of our field and over the four years we’ve really gained a big connection together.”

Roth has contributed to 33 of the Owls’ 124 goals this season, just more than 25 percent of all scores.

“I think a lot of that is credit to [Roth],” Rosen said. “Some teams recognize that so much of our offense runs through Kenzie. That’s just how she keeps learning to handle that pace.”

Although she has not always been in a leadership role, Roth learned from other teammates how to take charge when she was an underclassman. She’s demonstrated her leadership skills through her actions on the field, working hand-in-hand with her teammates while setting them up in the attacking third. 

Her presence on the field is always known by her teammates, allowing them to read and follow her actions on the attack. Her relatable and light-hearted personality keeps the team in a positive mood off the field as well. 

“I was never really in a leadership role until last year or even this year,” Roth said. “It definitely gives you a different perspective. I feel you start to think about your entire team when you start to get older.”

For now, Roth has the opportunity to help her team earn a winning record and compete for an American Athletic Conference championship. Once her college career ends, she could solidify her name in Temple lacrosse history alongside her high school coach. 

“She was never a selfish player,” Cipolla said. “I can see that’s why she’s close to breaking the record for assists. She scored a lot for me, but she did have that natural ability of seeing the field and hitting the player who was open.”

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