There is nothing in the world that would make senior Robin Keevan happier than to leave her mark at Temple as a two-time Atlantic 10 Conference lacrosse champion.
The opposition is gunning for Keevan and the Owls and she thrives off the competition. Her attitude parallels the way she plays: a fierce competitor with reckless abandon, who leaves it all out on the field.
“My dad has always inspired me in athletics,” Keevan said. “He pushes and drills me to be the best player I can be.”
The guidance paid off as Keevan has established herself as the brute force on the team, an all-around player who is second on the team in goals and is a stalwart on the defensive end causing headaches for the opposition.
Her teammates recognize the effort and feed off her.
“Robin covers a lot of territory, and [is someone] we can count on to get loose balls, create scoring chances, and overall is just an all-round player,” senior midfielder Jen Jefferson said.
What Keevan does remarkably well is penetrate to the goal with the ball. Her quick first step leaves defenders trailing, and her 5-feet-1 frame allows her to bull and duck through defenses. Against Duquesne she consistently freed herself up by using her spin move, which led to four goals.
“She’s just a phenomenal athlete,” Temple coach Kim Ciarrocca said. “She’s just been a great defender, even though I yell at her a lot, but she knows her role and that’s to force turnovers and push the ball up field.”
Keevan said winning last year’s A-10 Championship was a wonderful feeling and her motivation and focus has not changed going into Friday’s playoff against Duquesne.
She said that this year’s squad is loaded with experience, chemistry, and that everyone is on the same page. The team is so well balanced that opponents have a difficult time trying to contain them, mainly because everyone is aware of their roles.
When asked the team’s potential in the NCAA Tournament, Keevan said: “If we continue to play the way we know how to and not get psyched out, I think that we can go all the way. I think this is the year for us, it’s my last year, and I think we’re just as good as any other top team out there.”
Coach Ciarrocca said that while Keevan doesn’t take the role as a leader, she more or less leads by example always going hard on the field and the rest of the team picks up on that.
Keevan attributes a lot of her motivation to Ciarrocca and defensive coach Reid Watson.
“For four years [Ciarrocca] has made my life hell,” Keevan said. “But I respect her, because any good coach is going to push you hard. And coach Reid is the father of lacrosse, because he makes you want to play your best.”
As the Owls roll into postseason play with a six-game winning streak, and brimming with confidence, one thing is for sure. Keevan will try to win the way she knows how to: putting her body on the line and pushing opposing defenders to the ground.
Jason Haslam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org