Sophomore steps into co-captaincy for lacrosse team

Kara Nakrasius’ teammates voted her as one of three captains at the end of the 2017 season.

Sophomore defender Kara Nakrasius (right) catches the ball during the Owls’ 12-8 win against Rutgers University at Howarth Field on Saturday. | JAMIE COTTRELL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

At the end of her freshman year, Kara Nakrasius found out that her teammates voted for her to be a captain for the 2018 season.

Nakrasius is one of Temple’s three captains, all of whom are in the role for the first time. Nakrasius, a sophomore defender, is the only underclassman. She previously served as captain for two years at Garnet Valley High School in Delaware County, where she won two state titles.

The other two captains for the season are seniors attacker Kira Gensler and defender Nicole Latgis.

“We all kind of knew, or thought, she was going to be captain,” said sophomore midfielder Maddie Gebert, who met Nakrasius when they were teammates on the Brandywine Majors club lacrosse team in Delaware County during their sophomore year of high school. “I think everyone sees Kara as the leader of the [sophomore] class.”

Nakrasius started all 18 games last season and finished third on the team in ground balls and caused turnovers. Only two other players — Gebert and goalkeeper Maryn Lowell — started games as true freshmen last season.

Nakrasius caused a turnover and won two draws in Saturday’s season-opening 12-8 win against Rutgers University at Howarth Field. She hadn’t expected to be chosen as a captain, Nakrasius said, but many of her teammates weren’t surprised.

Gebert said the underclassmen on the team, especially this season’s freshmen, are often more comfortable talking to Nakrasius than to the seniors.

“I think everyone in our class loves having Kara as a captain because it’s someone in our class we can go to,” Gebert added.

Because the captaincy vote came at the end of last season, Nakrasius had nearly a year to prepare for the responsibility, and she didn’t have to prepare on her own.

Gensler, Latgis and Nakrasius all met with the coaching staff during the summer. They spent time in the fall learning the responsibilities of their roles, like supporting each other and relating to “as many players on the field as possible,” coach Bonnie Rosen said.

Rosen emphasized that leadership is a learned skill.

“This is a new role for all three of them,” Rosen said. “It’s an exciting new year from that standpoint. I thought they were great choices.”

Nakrasius expects to learn a lot from her fellow captains.

“They have a lot more experience, obviously, than I do in college,” she said. “I’m excited to see what they have to say.”

Rosen added that many players have developed during the course of their college careers, but it is uncommon to have a player serve as captain before her senior year.

“Kara is looked to for her heart, her passion, her commitment to [the] team, her willingness to do for others, as well as her ability to play on the field,” Rosen said. “She loves to compete. That is by far Kara’s biggest strength, is that she represents the pureness of the sport and playing every day.”

In her previous 11 seasons as coach, Rosen said there have only been a handful of players selected as captain prior to their senior seasons.

In the 2010 season, juniors Alex Shapiro and Ann Stouffer served as two of four captains. In 2014, Maddie McTigue was named a co-captain as a sophomore and retained the responsibility for the next two years. The next season, defender Kara Stroup was a junior co-captain with McTigue.

Nakrasius now joins the exclusive group.

“When someone really stands out as a great leader, getting into that captain role is always a benefit to our program long-term,” Rosen said.

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