More than a year after the last meeting between Temple and Saint Joseph’s, a bitter taste lingered in the mouth of Corey Leader, of the women’s lacrosse team.
“We played horrible against them last year and we knew that was not going to happen again,” the senior attacker said.
But in that last game, the Owls beat the Hawks.
“We won,” Leader said. “We just played [poorly]. We got in a lot of trouble for that game.”
The Owls made sure they didn’t get in trouble following Saturday’s 16-9 win, in which four players scored three goals apiece at Geasey Field, led by junior Casey Cech’s seven-point effort.
Coach Jennifer Ulehla still has a list of areas she thinks need improvement.
And with the remainder of Temple’s schedule being against Atlantic Ten Conference schools, and a number of teams vying for the same four playoff spots, the Owls cannot falter down the stretch, Ulehla said.
“We’ve got four really good teams that we have to compete [against] and beat,” Ulehla said. “I want to go in [seeded] second.”
Cech said the Owls understand the situation they’re in.
“This conference is really competitive so it’s going to come down to the wire in the end, so really every win is important from now on,” she said.
Saint Bonaventure currently sits atop the A-10 standings with an unblemished 3-0 conference record, and Richmond isn’t far behind at 4-1. The Owls, at 2-1, could still unseat those teams for the top seed, Leader said.
“We’re expecting to see [Richmond] in the finals of the A-10 Championship and basically we know exactly what we need to do to beat them, and we’re working on a certain thing for every game,” Leader said.
In the first eight minutes of the game, Temple (6-6 overall) jumped to a 3-0 lead over the Hawks (3-7, 1-3). St. Joe’s didn’t get much closer, with the teams trading several goals to end the half.
Seniors Nicole Cataldo and Leader, and junior midfielders Allison Frengs and Cech each scored three times, while Johna Capaldo and freshman attacker Brittney Hoffman added one apiece.
In the second half, Ulehla said she “challenged the defense,” and assigned sophomore midfielder Berkley Summerlin to guard the Hawks’ Kristina Jaggers, who erupted for three goals in the first half.
Summerlin shadowed the attacker for the remaining 30 minutes. Jaggers was shut out and Summerlin scored two goals of her own.
Goalkeeper Caitlin Gregory limited the Hawks to one goal in a 32-minute span in time off the bench.
Preparation begins now for the A-10 tournament, which is four games away. Temple is on the road for its next two games, visiting La Salle tomorrow at 4 p.m. and Massachusetts Sunday.
“We have to win the next four games, and then we have to win the A-10 [tournament] and, from there, we get a NCAA berth,” Ulehla said.
Steve Wood can be reached at email@example.com.