Earlier this season, the lacrosse team defeated Richmond at Geasey Field.
But on an emotional day for its seniors, the fourth-seeded Owls couldn’t repeat the feat, losing to the Spiders, 13-6 in the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament semifinals Friday on their home turf.
For the third consecutive year, the Spiders eliminated the Owls from the tournament, essentially ending Temple’s hopes of earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The squad’s 6-11 overall mark and 4-4 A-10 record is not likely to generate an at-large berth.
Though the Owls lost, coach Bonnie Rosen said she told them how proud she was of the season.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be the coach of this team,” the first-year coach said, “and to have had this group as my first [team as coach of Temple]. They battled hard all season and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs. And I think today, their character still came out as being tough and willing to put it on the line.”
The Owls fell behind early, giving up five straight goals to open the game. The Spiders scored their first three in a mere 40 seconds. After that, Rosen said the Owls faced a deficit that was too great to overcome.
“I think the slow start probably was because we were very excited to play and people were a little out of their comfort zone,” Rosen said. “So, we were more frozen than we were aggressive. The slow start definitely hurt us in the end. Time became a factor and it made us push our game too much.”
The Owls did make a short comeback to close the gap to 5-2 at halftime. The pair of goals was scored by juniors Nicole Caniglia and Whitney Richards.
In the second half, the deficit fluctuated. Three times the Owls trailed by only two goals. However, the Spiders finally extended a comfortable lead for good by scoring five goals in the final 10 minutes.
For the Owls, Richards added another goal to lead the team with two, and seniors Casey Cech, Johna Capaldo and Allison Frengs each added a goal of their own.
The loss was especially upsetting for Frengs, who led the Owls with 42 goals this season. Frengs recalled some of her most memorable moments of her Temple lacrosse career.
“We won A-10 my freshman year, and made the [A-10] tournament every year while I was here,” Frengs said. “Just memories with my teammates and the team. You spend everyday all year with these people, so they become some of your best friends.”
Looking toward next season, Richards will be one of the players aiming to use her leadership and physical skills to try and take the Owls to the next step: an A-10 championship.
“I think next year’s going to be pretty well-balanced,” Richards said. “We have some underclassmen that I think will definitely step up. And the rest of our class is pretty solid. So I am looking forward to it.”
Kevin Smiley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.