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The Bethlehem Connection

Rowan and Quillinan exhibited those same qualities as part of a Bethlehem juggernaut that won eight con-secutive Section II, Division I titles " most of which while Battaglino was head coach.

"They help each other," said Battaglino, who coached Bethlehem from 1995 to 2004. "They don't even look at how many goals they score. Katie will tell you she scores the quietest goals."

"We work very well together," said Rowan. "We have a really strong connection, and it's great that it's grown even stronger."

Even first-year Syracuse coach Gary Gait " considered to be one of the greatest men's lacrosse players of all time " sees a special connection between Rowan and Quillinan.

"Their play indicates they had great high school coaching and developed well as players before they arrived at Syracuse," said Gait.

The first piece for Syracuse's success came when Battaglino joined the coaching staff after guiding Bethlehem to its third consecutive state final four appearance in 2004. Taking the offensive schemes he used with the Lady Eagles to central New York, Battaglino set about improving the Orange attack. But it wasn't easy.

"You need the players to make the system work, so the players are the first thing you need," said Battaglino.

If ever there was a player Battaglino could rely on to improve Syracuse's offense, it was Rowan. In 2005, Rowan scored 56 goals and assisted on 76 more to help Dawn Austin's Lady Eagles win another Sectional title and get to the state finals.

Still when Rowan arrived at Syracuse before the 2006 season, she didn't know how much of an impact she would make " even though she played in Battaglino's up-tempo offensive system her entire high school career.

"Going into it, you're not sure how things are going to work out," said Rowan. "I really wanted to step up and help in any way that I could."

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