By Matthew Aquino, OwlSports Update
Temple lacrosse comes into the 2022 season with high expectations.
After finishing 13-6 last spring and winning their first NCAA tournament game in over a decade, the Owls are looking to build on that success. It’s just another step in the right direction for a team that was five games under .500 just three years ago.
Coach Bonnie Rosen, who has coached the team for 15 years, couldn't have asked for a more successful season in 2021. She noted that this year’s team is a lot younger and still searching for its identity.
“This is a new team, it's a new season so we’re really starting where we are today and that's kind of what we do,” said Rosen. “We take things step by step each day.”
After losing two of its three top scorers in Bridget Whittaker and Meghan Hoffman to graduation, the team will look to the current roster and newcomers to help fill the void.
The Owls have added five freshmen and three transfers to the roster. Preseason AAC Midfielder of the Year Belle Mastropietro will look to duplicate her success from 2021. She scored 43 goals and added 12 assists.
Mastropietro believes the team is focused and can get back to the NCAA tournament this year.
“I think this season so far we focused a lot offensively, defensively just on a lot of different things that we need to do well to win,” Mastropietro said.
Losing players in 2021 opens the door for new leaders in 2022. Senior defender Nina has emerged ready to take on that role.
“I absolutely feel like a leader of this team,” said Heyn. “It’s definitely hard to step in a role like that, especially when it's all your friends. It’s kind of awkward to have to correct your friends and stuff but at the end of the day there is a lot of mutual respect between us and you know we love each other so it’s turned out to be a lot easier than I thought it would be.”
Not only have the Owls added leaders on the field but also on the sideline. Former Villanova attacker Liz Trojan is the newest assistant coach.
During her time at Villanova, Trojan scored more than 100 goals and had 23 assists. She suffered a career-ending injury at the start of the 2021 season and has now made the transition to coach full time.
“She’s great, you know she really came in and just became a very essential asset to our team,” said Heyn. “She's very vocal which I can appreciate, she has no problem speaking up and telling us what we need to do.”
No. 22 Temple will start the journey to the NCAA tournament at Howarth Field on Saturday when the Owls host their first-ever meeting with the Army Black Knights.