In sports, there is an old saying that speed kills.
Temple’s women’s lacrosse team will look forward to using the acceleration of their feet in an attempt to storm through some of the nation’s top teams this year.
After losing many players after the 2002 season, the Owls decided to recruit players that could display some wheels.
“This team has more speed than I have seen in five or six years,” head coach Kim Ciarrocca said.
“Our midfield and attack are both extremely fast, so I am excited to get these girls out on the field and see what we can do.”
After finishing the 2002 season with a 14-5 record, co-captains Ally Demas, Liz Frengs and Jessica Yemm look forward to leading Temple into the 2003 schedule after losing 12 players to graduation.
Frengs, the returning team MVP from the 2002 season, does not plan on allowing such a loss to put a damper on this year’s results.
“The team is looking very strong so far,” she said.
“Our senior core plans to help the team win with some experience and leadership.”
Leadership and discipline are the tools the Owls must use as an advantage over other teams.
The team has 5:30 a.m. practices every morning, while most other students are snoozing away in their dorm rooms.
“Waking up early in the morning and practicing gives us a good state of mind, and helps us stay disciplined while we juggle our schoolwork and concentrate on becoming the best team in the A-10,” junior Marie DesMarias said.
DesMarias also makes up a portion of Temple’s small junior class that will assist the seniors in leading a team dominated by underclassmen.
The other juniors consist of Erin Malany, Tiffany Pulaski and Mary Fran Stepek.
As with any young team, Ciarrocca expects some bumps in the road as the season begins.
“Our defense is very young,” Ciarrocca said. “We’ll have some growing pains, but I think once the girls get moving through a few games, we’ll be just fine.”
Opponents facing the Owls this year will probably prepare to feed upon the youth of the Temple squad, but these girls have different plans for their counterparts.
“Right now everyone is looking at our age, but we are looking at our speed and skill, because the age of a player means nothing when points are put on the scoreboard,” Malany said.
Ciarrocca envisions a difficult schedule this year in the A-10, but also outside of the conference as well.
“The tougher teams in the conference this year will most likely be Richmond, UMass and Duquesne,” Ciarrocca said.
“Our most difficult games, however, will probably be against out-of-conference teams such as Penn State, Virginia and Old Dominion.”
However complex the schedule may seem, the Owls will take their quick feet and hardened skills into competition with one simple goal: big-time post-season play.
“As our season unfolds, the girls will begin to realize our one goal,” Ciarrocca said.
“We want to win the Atlantic-10 championship and make some noise in the NCAA Tournament, no questions asked.”
Dave Gunning can be reached at email@example.com