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WOMEN’S LACROSSE: Temple Roars Back From Early Deficit to Stun Vanderbilt in AAC Opener

By Zachary Gephart, 03/20/24, 11:30AM EDT


By: Zach Gephart

PHILADELPHIA - Following a quick scoring spree that put Temple University down early, the duo of midfielder Belle Mastropietro and attacker Julie Schickling showed up to help the Owls complete the comeback.

The opening game of American Athletic Conference play for each team quickly became one with various implications. Vanderbilt University had begun to gain momentum as they walked onto Howarth Field early Saturday afternoon. After a narrow win against Arizona State was followed up by a sizable win against Mercer University, the Commodores had suddenly won three of their previous four games to bring their record to 5-2. Their main weapon had become attacker Kemper Robinson, who was responsible for seven scores during this stretch. Temple, on the other hand, had recently returned home from a harsh loss by the hands of the 17th-ranked University of Southern California. Despite a four-goal performance by Mastropietro, this would mark their third loss against a ranked opponent this season. For the Owls, it was crucial to get back into the win column.

The matchup would swiftly become one that would be decided by scoring sprees, the first of which would come from Vanderbilt. In the first period the Commodores would put up four unanswered goals, two of which would come from midfielder Molly Krestinski. However, Temple would respond with a dominant 10-4 run to close the game which helped secure their sixth win of the season in comeback fashion. Schickling would finish with a hat-trick while Mastropietro would lead the way with a game-high four goals and two assists as the Owls took down Vanderbilt 10-8.

Temple vs. Vanderbilt - PSD Game Highlights by Zach Gephart

“To be able to go down four goals and work our way back just showed how well we work together as a team,” Mastropietro said. “Going down doesn’t deter us”.

Vanderbilt midfielder Brooke Baker would help her team draw first blood with a score just under halfway through the first period. Krestinski and junior Molly Finlay would both pour on goals of their own to put the Owls in an early four-point hole in the opening period of play. Temple would be able to get five shots on goal, however none would be able to hit nylon as the two squads headed to the second period with a score of 4-0.

Mastropietro would quickly put the Owls on the board with a score in the opening minutes of the second quarter. After a goal by sophomore Logan Risenhoover brought the Vanderbilt lead back to four, Temple began an absolutely dominant run. Schickling and Mastropietro would combine for three goals while attacker Amelia Wright tacked on one more to will their squad back into the mix. Temple would dominate the shot chart in this period with a differential of 10 to three. Krestinski would be the only Commodore that would return fire in this stretch, as the two entered halftime with a narrow 6-5 Vanderbilt lead.

The second half would prove to be a polar opposite of the first, with Temple’s defense stifling any and all Commodore scoring attempts in the third quarter.

Post Game interview with Temple's Belle Mastropietro - PSD Video by Zach Gephart

The Owls would suffocate Vanderbilt’s offense in the third period, holding them to zero shots and eight turnovers as they began to take the wheel. Wright would score off an assist from Mastropietro to tie the game in the opening minutes, which would quickly be expanded on by an additional Mastropietro goal just a minute later. As the two entered the final fifteen minutes, Temple held a 7-6 lead.

Schickling would continue the Owls’ run by opening the fourth quarter with an unassisted goal. After being held scoreless for a quarter and a half, Robinson would finally put the Commodores back on the board to shrink the Temple lead to one. 

However, Schickling would complete her hat-trick to put her squad back up by two. Vanderbilt senior Ella Smith would then respond with another goal; however, Temple’s Erin King would ice the game with the game’s final score in the closing minutes to secure the comeback.

“It can be hard in those situations to not get down on yourself or hang your heads,” Mastropietro said. “But I think we did a really good job of picking each other up and keeping everybody in the game”.

The Owls will attempt to build onto their win when they travel down south to take on the East Carolina University Pirates on Saturday. Vanderbilt, meanwhile, will look to bounce back on Wednesday when they travel to Xavier University.