There will always be some kinks to work out.
Rowan Club Men’s Lacrosse knows this fairly well. The team has been through a number of notable circumstances this fall. From starting out strong with over 60 players coming out to try out, to claiming the long-desired Fall Brawl Championship, then to facing two big-name teams, St. Joseph’s University and Temple University.
That’s where the bittersweet feeling comes in, due to Rowan’s loss to Temple this past Saturday. With a harsh, 10-1 end score, the team knows that there is a lot of room for improvement. They know that if they really want to compete in the spring, they need to use any momentum they can get. Regardless, the team was with good spirits as it drove back into Philadelphia. It was ironic, considering that they had faced St. Joe’s the Sunday prior. They set their sights on Temple University and crossed their fingers.
Right next to a fenced-in construction zone, the AstroTurf field was a bit of a surprise for the team. The feel was literally like walking on a carpet. The weather was beautiful; a nice, clear, fall day was the perfect weather for this kind of finisher. Returnees from last year were happy to find former president, Rob Zybrick, and former defenseman, Dwight Tucci attending to watch this game.
This was certainly a battle the team wanted to win. The Profs’ starting fogo, Billy Van Dyke, managed to keep his cool during this game. The junior had a fun time against Temple’s fogo, who Van Dyke describes as being “very consistent.”
“What made him hard to beat was the use of there wing play to pick up the ground ball. He did a very good job of keeping the ball on the ground and had great support from his wings. Ground balls are huge with face offs and I think Astro turf made it difficult for us to adapt to with groundballs.” Van Dyke said.
During the first quarter, Van Dyke found a break. As soon as he won the face-off, Van Dyke utilized the help of Brian Mahoney and Andrew Burr to get plays started on offense. Through this, Van Dyke scored the one point that kept this game from being a shutout.
“To score on a team like Temple, we have to be crisp with our stick skills and hit the corners of the net. They had terrific goalies who shut down any slow or off target shots. The use of screens is big on goalies at this level and it’s important to make the goalie move before he sees the shot coming. The ball cannot sit in one spot for more than a moment; it needs to be pass, pass, pass, shot, with no hesitation.” Van Dyke said.
It would be a huge challenge for the Profs to get any sort of footing against Temple from there on. Temple scored quickly and tired defense significantly with many aggressive plays. Temple was able to score five goals before halftime. The Profs on the other hand continued to struggle with playing slow and smart offense. A noticeable amount of shots were pushed from odd angles and offense as a whole seemed to be moving too fast.
At around the second half, the team’s fatigue showed in their fights for groundballs. The team seemed to be getting tired and less motivated. A lot of movement in the beginning turned into slouched momentum in the late minutes of the game. Temple continued to score.
It didn’t look good. There were moments of organization and good execution, but Temple kept the Profs in a tired and defensive state. Temple capped-off the game with a 10-1 score over the Profs. Even so, the sideline was still alive with morale. Leave it to a team like this to smile anyway. The path to getting this far in the fall season was hard, but the team wouldn’t let itself be deterred by this loss. All it needs is to come back stronger and faster than what they showed on the field. Van Dyke is optimistic when asked what he would do if he and the team faced Temple again.
“I would love to play them again because I think we learn a lot as a team from playing them. They exploit our weaknesses and they pointed out our defensive flaws which we have not seen yet this year. I think if we played them again we would be very competitive and if we keep our composure, have a chance to win.” Van Dyke said.
Thus, all eyes look to January once again.