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Lacrosse defeats Temple, 9-7

The La Salle women’s lacrosse team recorded its first Atlantic 10 win in almost three years on Sunday, defeating local rival Temple at McCarthy Stadium. The Explorers had not won a game in the conference since April 7, 2006.

First-year head coach Candace Taglianetti anticipated that her new job would be a difficult one, coming into a losing situation.

“We knew we were taking over a 1-15 team,” she said of her and her fellow coaches. “We expected challenges.”

The 9-7 win is one step in the right direction. It was the fourth win of the season for the team, but probably the biggest in the program’s recent history.

It creates, Taglianetti said, “a new level of confidence. [A win] is something tangible that they can see. Everything they’re doing is paying off.”

Entering A-10 play, the team had won three of its last five games and was poised to make an impact in the conference. The first test was Massachusetts, which was coming off a 22-5 loss to No. 1 Northwestern. The Minutewomen came to 20th and Olney with vengeance on their minds and defeated the Explorers 17-2.

“Massachusetts is a really good team, and they had just played the No. 1 team in the country,” Taglianetti said. “They were on the other side of a big loss, and they came here and did it to us. Any team is going to look slower after you play the best and fastest team.”

Still, Taglianetti has a higher expectation for her team.

“We were disappointed in the level of play,” she said. “We would have rather had a better showing, win or loss, we had to play better.”

The victory over the Owls was led by junior Stefany McKee and sophomores Nicole McCurdy and Ashley Rutz, who each scored two goals. Freshman Allison Herman led the team with three assists.

La Salle fell behind 1-0 just 35 seconds into the game, but came back and tied it five minutes later on Rutz’s first goal. The score bounced back and forth in the first half with the Explorers holding a 5-3 advantage at halftime.

After Temple brought the score to within one with 18:47 remaining, La Salle took control. Two goals by McKee and another by McCurdy in the next 10 minutes extended the Explorers’ lead from 6-5 to 9-5 and provided all the cushion they would need.

Taglianetti knows that there is still a lot of work to do.

“We have been pleasantly surprised [by where the team is],” she said. “The girls are really hard-working, and we’re looking forward to the future.”

The closest future is a road game against Duquesne April 3. The Explorers’ last win, prior to Sunday’s victory over the Owls, was against the Dukes.

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