Taylor Trusky’s impact won’t be found on a stat sheet.
The 5-foot-5-inch senior defender has no points on the season, but she is part of an all-senior back line that has allowed four goals through five games of American Athletic Conference.
“When you’ve got four seniors playing across your back line, it’s great,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “With Kaylee [Harner] at left back and now Shannon [Senour], that’s a very mature back line, and I just don’t see us giving up that many goals. I’m always surprised when we do just because those guys are so mature, and they have so much experience.”
Temple’s back line is made up of Trusky, senior Erin Lafferty and senior Paula Jurewicz in front of freshman goalkeeper Jordan Nash, who has allowed nine goals in 10 starts since taking over for injured senior goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff Sept. 4.
“No matter what age you are, what grade you are, the communication starts in the back,” Trusky said. “Jordan stepping up as a freshman is huge for us, and her communicating has improved drastically since her first game.”
Through five games of conference play in 2015, Temple has scored two goals while allowing four. Last season, in the same number of games, the Owls scored four goals while allowing seven.
The lack of offense has been evident, especially in the team’s three straight 1-0 losses to start conference play, but O’Connor said the defense has taken center stage since the start of conference play.
“Definitely the issue is not defending,” O’Connor said. “We just have to get in the playoffs because our defense is good enough to win a championship for us. We’re rock solid back there, and we create a lot of chances from it. We just have to build on that.”
In 10 games of non-conference play, Temple was 8-2 with a 31-8 advantage in goals. Since conference play began, the Owls have one win and two goals, all coming in the team’s 2-1 win against Cincinnati Thursday, to show for their efforts.
Lafferty said it has been tough to stay mentally strong with the lack of scoring in conference play, but the team hopes to turn things around on its upcoming road trip to Tulsa and Memphis.
“I think we just need to put it in the net, and it’s a team effort,” Lafferty said. “It starts from the back and it goes to the front. It’s the whole team that has to improve on something for us to get the win.”
Tom Reifsnyder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TomReifsnyder.