Temple Lacrosse’s hot start leaves room for improvement

The team has surpassed last year’s win total thanks to its nationally-ranked defense, but the Owls still need to get over the hump against ranked teams.

Temple Lacrosse has surpassed last season's win total, but is yet to beat a ranked opponent this season. | LANDON STAFFORD / THE TEMPLE NEWS

When Temple Lacrosse shot out to a 5-2 record last season, it was seemingly a lock for its fourth consecutive American Athletic Conference Tournament appearance.

However, the Owls suddenly fell off, losing six straight games en route to their worst record since 2019.

Temple matched that 5-2 record through their first seven games this season, but there’s been a different story at Howarth Field in 2024. Temple flipped the script, currently boasting an 9-4 record and sitting third in the AAC standings with just two games remaining in the regular season.

“What we have focused on from the start of the season is staying present and working on the small things,” said head coach Bonnie Rosen, “We have a bunch of players who are a little more seasoned, and have experienced the ups and downs of competition and that plays into success.”

The Owls will square off against Ohio State and No. 10 Florida to close the year and both programs have winning records on the season. Temple has struggled with top competition this year, going 5-4 against teams above .500 but losing to every nationally-ranked opponent it’s faced. 

The Owls have still shown flashes on both sides of the ball despite their struggles against top-ranked opponents. They have four players in their final season of eligibility and each is trying to use this final month to return to the AAC Tournament. 

Temple has what it takes to win the conference, but the team needs to move past its issues against the best of the best to have a chance in May. Here is where the team stands as they enter the final stretch of the regular season.


The Owls’ bounce-back should be credited to their defense, which is one of the best in the country. They’ve held opponents to less than 10 goals in their wins, only allowing double-digit goals four times — their four losses.

Defenders Katie Shallow and Maddie Barber have led the stifling defense, and both are top 25 in the country in caused turnovers. Shallow set the program record for caused turnovers against Delaware on Feb. 21, signifying her defense prowess and importance on North Broad Street. The Owls’ unit has caused 161 turnovers, good for fourth in the country.

“We play a great team defense,” Rosen said. “Every player has to do their part but we are always there for each other. We have players that love to come up with the ball and that’s what you need from defenders.”

The Owls’ defensive success has relieved pressure from goalkeeper Taylor Grollman, who allowed 10 goals per game last season. Grollman stepped up this season, boosting her save percentage to .486 and allowing just eight goals a game. She is 10th in the country in save percentage and 53rd in saves. 

The three-headed monster of Grollman, Shallow and Barber have led the Owls to the 13th ranked scoring defense in the country.

“Half my job is easy because of what [the defense] does in front of me,” Grollman said. “They are tipping balls, slowing balls down and making opponents take really tough shots that allows me to see the ball really well.”


Temple’s offense has improved this season because it has found new ways to attack opposing defenses. Midfielder Belle Mastropietro and attacker Amelia Wright are leading the charge, scoring 58 goals combined this season.

Mastropietro has cemented her legacy in the Cherry and White, earning the most draw controls in the AAC. Her luck on the draw has pushed her to 336 career draw controls, becoming the first Owl in program history with more than 300. 

“When we can be getting more draw controls than our opponent, give ourselves more offensive possessions, chances are we’re also getting off more shots, more balls are going in the net,” Rosen said. “Our defenders have done a great job of giving us the extra possessions by getting stops including Taylor [Grollman] at the back of the defense. We’ve been able to do both.”

Attackers Julie Schickling and Mackenzie Roth have given the Owls a group of scorers that are capable of attacking opponents, and both have more than 10 goals this season. Roth’s biggest output has been dishing the ball — she’s seventh in the AAC in assists and broke the program record for career assists against Old Dominion on March 30

The Owls have excelled in their wins, outscoring their opponents 140-114. They’ve won just three games by less than five goals and their largest win margin was nine, which the team earned in back-to-back games against Binghamton on Feb. 14 and Manhattan on Feb. 16

“Our willingness to try different things on offense and use different people, find different looks have really helped us score a lot,” Wright said. “We’ve been trying a lot of new things in practice which has helped us find different feeds. I think that really advances our attack as a whole and makes us an all around threat.”


Temple has struggled to defeat its strongest opponents, but the team has still seen improvement throughout the season. The Owls were shut down in their 13-5 loss to No. 16 Yale on Feb. 21, and held scoreless the entire second quarter. But in their loss to No.12 JMU on April 7, the Owls had the upper hand before conceding seven straight goals in their 14-10 loss.

Temple hopes to qualify for their first NCAA Tournament since 2021 and while the Owls have proven it can win, being unable to conquer top-tier opponents could be the demise of their season. 

“We just have to stay locked in and disciplined at practice,” Grollman said. “It can get hard and we get tired, but we are using what happened last year to motivate us because we do not want a repeat of last year.”

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