Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/23/11
From Press Releases
The quest to win an Atlantic 10 Championship on its home field is about to begin for the Temple women’s lacrosse team as the Owls open the 2011 season at home today at 3:00 p.m. against Rutgers. Temple will play seven regular season games at home before hopefully earning a berth in the A-10 Tournament, which will be held on the Owls’ Geasey Field.
“We’ve been working really hard to get ready for our home opener on Wednesday,” said fifth-year Temple head coach Bonnie Rosen (Harriton). “Rutgers is always a great rivalry. This is a culmination of working all fall and this past weekend we got a chance to have a last-minute tune-up at Yale to get ready.
“It’s an opening game and it’s an opportunity for us to show where we are in our development. Rutgers is typically a physical game so it’s a really great opportunity for us to not only up our level of play but to handle some of the adversity that comes with a physical game. While we still have a lot of work to do, we couldn’t be more ready and excited to play the first game of the season.”
Wednesday’s game is the season opener for both teams. Last year Temple went 7-10 overall but 4-3 in A-10 play to earn the number four seed at the conference tournament. The Owls lost to top-seeded Richmond in a close semifinal, 15-13.
That game was one of seven Temple played in 2010 that was decided by two goals or fewer, but the Owls took victories in only two of the seven.
Temple lost four players to graduation last year, among which were the team’s top attacker, top defender and starting goalkeeper, but the Owls do return seven of the eight players who scored 10 goals or more.
The junior class is a big one for Temple, making up 11 of the Owls’ 25-member roster. The class includes Missy Schweitzer (Owen J. Roberts) and Stephanie Markunas (Ridley), who scored 21 goals apiece last year, as well as Tess Bishop who will be the Owls’ new starting goalkeeper. Also, Kelsey Zenuk (St. Mark’s, DE) had 15 goals and Shelby Christopher (Avon Grove) added 11 last year.
“Everyone has asked ‘what should we expect out of this team?’, said Rosen. “Last year we had tremendous leadership from our seniors on all parts of the field. While those are huge losses, as always we have people ready to step in and move forward. Tess will move into our starting goalkeeper position, and as a junior she is ready for that opportunity.
“Offensively it will be a more collective offense in terms of our scoring power. While we lost some veteran leadership, we are a much more veteran team. Our junior class is as large as it gets, and includes some players we didn’t have on the field last year because of injuries.
“The biggest challenge we face is putting all the pieces together. Coming off of last year where we were in so many tight games but didn’t have the ability to get over the top; this year hopefully that experience and our drive will allow us to take those close games. I expect that it’s going to be a tough season in terms of a lot of great competition, and the answers are going to be in the details. It will be about winning those close games.”
Veteran leadership comes from a class of four seniors, Alex Shapiro, Jen Homka (Garnet Valley), Ann Stouffer and Nicholle St. Pierre (Owen J. Roberts). Shapiro, a midfielder, and Stouffer, an attacker, started all 17 games for the Owls last season. Key sophomores include midfielders Steph Parcell (Interboro), Charlotte Swavola (Cheltenham) and Kellee Pace (Chichester). Parcell pumped in 20 goals last year, Swavola had 16 and Pace tallied nine.
Temple was picked to finish fourth of eight teams in the Atlantic 10 Preseason Poll, reflecting the Owls’ finish a year ago.