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Women’s season preview: Temple has high hopes in the Big East

Friday, 14th February 2014

Categories College, Girl's/Women's  
 

Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 2/14/14
From Press Release

City rival and former conference opponent Saint Joseph’s will make the short trip to Temple on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for the 2014 Temple lacrosse season opener at Geasey Field. The Owls are embarking on their first season as an associate member of the BIG EAST Conference, but they have more than a month until their BIG EAST opener.

Jaymie Tabor

Jaymie Tabor

Check back to Owlsports.com where any changes to Saturday’s game due to weather-related issues will be announced.

Admission is free for Temple lacrosse, and nearly all home games will be webcast through OwlSports.com for free. Saturday’s opener will be an audio-only broadcast, and fans can listen for free HERE.

2014 Temple Lacrosse Season Outlook

As Temple lacrosse enters its first season in the BIG EAST Conference with a roster made up primarily of underclassmen, eighth-year Temple head coach Bonnie Rosen says to “expect the unexpected.” The Owls are largely unknown to most of the opponents they will face in 2014, but they are somewhat unknown to themselves as well.

Temple has had its fall season and a month of spring practice to start working on its new group dynamics, and the approach will be very different with the make-up of this year’s team.

“We are wide open right now,” said Rosen, in speaking about who she expects to step up offensively. “Our seniors last year did a really fantastic job for us. They were anchors to the program and all the underclassmen were athletes that helped make a big difference. This year it’s more about who can do that, plus know more and be more veteran in their play.”

The Owls have four seniors on the roster, including one fifth-year player in defender Nina Falcone (Perkiomen Valley). Senior Jaymie Tabor (Downingtown West) is the team’s leading returning scorer with 27 goals scored in 2013, and senior Kelly Syphard was also among last year’s leaders with 10 goals. Lea Britton (Council Rock North) rounds out the senior class and has made key contributions in the midfield, including scoring two goals and adding a pair of assists last season.

“I expect our senior class to be really strong,” said Rosen. “Especially early in the season, we expect all four of them to be key leadership on the field. They all have a lot of experience and have seen a lot and are comfortable on the field right now.”

The junior class is also a small one with four players, covering every position on the field from goalkeeper to attack. Juniors Macie Hauck (North Penn) and Molly Seefried (Abington) combined for seven goals last year, while junior Rachel Hall (Clearview Regional) will be vying for goalkeeping time along with redshirt sophomore Jaqi Kakalecik. Both were backups to Meghan Clothier in 2013.

Including Kakalecik, the sophomore class is the largest by far with 13 members. Among that group is attacker Rachel Schwaab, an Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team selection last year after tying for fourth on the team with 23 goals. She was second on the squad with 10 assists, and her 33 total points ranked third. Fellow sophomores Kirstie Connor and Nicole Tiernan (Washington Township) were also A-10 All-Rookie Team honorees in their debut campaigns for Temple. Tiernan finished her freshman year with eight goals, while Connor recorded four.

“If you look at the stats, we lost our leading scorers,” said Rosen, “but that isn’t to say we lost our scoring power. Our younger players have to be willing to step in and make that scoring impact. I think we’ll be a much more well-rounded offense this year. We have a lot of scoring threats in the midfield and attack. Rachel had an outstanding freshman year and shows a real knack for being able to organize and attack and see things. In terms of physical ability to get to goal, we have a lot of different options.

“I think the difference from last year will be that we played to our experience to try to win games, and this year it’s going to take a true team effort to take advantage of everyone’s talents.”

One of the anchors of Temple’s defense, in addition to Falcone, will be sophomore Summer Jaros (Bishop Shanahan).

“Defensively, we’re going to be more athletic than we’ve been,” said Rosen. “We look to see Summer help us out defensively after being on offense last year. She brings size and aggressiveness in conjunction with others who have already been in that position. So I think we’ll be using size and foot speed to anchor our defense initially, as we learn to be smarter.”

As the Owls adjust to their new look on the field, they will also be preparing to face a lineup of new opponents that include preseason BIG EAST favorite and #10 Georgetown. The rest of the BIG EAST slate includes fellow associate members UConn, Rutgers, Louisville and UMBC along with Villanova, Cincinnati and Marquette. Both Rutgers and Louisville will leave after the 2014 season.

“It’s really exciting to be a part of a new conference,” says Rosen. “We don’t get to the BIG EAST games for awhile, but it’s certainly on our mind in preparations. We’re going to come up against new styles. The fun part for us is that we’re the unknown. Everyone else has played each other.”

“For me, moving into a new conference is actually a really good coaching piece,” added Rosen. “We’re a young team, and they won’t settle for what they think they know. I think it’s important to approach each season as a new year and approach each game as a new game, and not think that you know your opponents from previous years because things are always changing, and that is certainly the case for us.

Rosen’s freshman class has seven players, and she expects not only a lot of fighting for starting positions, but a lot of players to be on the field each game, especially at the start of the season.

“The freshmen have room to make an impact,” said Rosen. “Morgan Glassford (Strath Haven) was an impact player for us all fall, which is pretty remarkable as a freshman to step on the field and make such a difference. She’s probably the most ready, but they’re all gaining confidence and learning the system. I would expect that a lot of them will contribute.”

Temple’s schedule starts at home with two familiar opponents both from Philadelphia and its former conference- Saint Joseph’s and La Salle. The road schedule includes an early trip to Cornell before a spring break trip out west to Colorado, where the Owls will face both Colorado and Denver.

Rosen looks forward to taking her team on those trips, and another one down the road to BIG EAST foe Marquette.

“It’s exciting,” she said. “I find it’s a great experience and it’s easier to focus when you’re on the road than when you’re at home. I love that we’ll be going to some new places. When things are unfamiliar, you have to learn how to deal with that.”

In the preseason BIG EAST Conference Coaches Poll, the Owls were picked to finish fifth among the eight teams. Georgetown was picked to win the league, followed by UConn, Louisville and Rutgers.

The early part of Temple’s BIG EAST slate is home-heavy. After its first conference game at UMBC on March 22, the Owls will play four league games in a row at home on Geasey Field.

The last three conference games will take the Owls to Marquette, Georgetown, and finally Rutgers.

Georgetown will serve as the host of the BIG EAST Championships, set for Thursday and Saturday, May 1 and 3.

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