The women’s soccer team can fight.
This theory proved itself Sunday at Ambler Field against Atlantic Ten Conference opponent Charlotte, but the Owls didn’t have enough fight to overcome the 49ers, losing 1-0.
The loss dropped the Owls to 5-4-3 overall and 1-2-1 in the A-10.
The Owls were shut out for the sixth time this season and have scored just five goals in their last eight games. They have won just two of those games.
“We can play,” coach David Jones said. “We’re right where we want to be. We gave them a game.”
Jones said the team improves its confidence level each game it plays.
Junior Jenna Rankin agreed.
“Each game we play better as a team,” the midfielder said. “The younger players step up, which is great to see. There’s not as much pressure on the upperclassmen anymore.”
The first half featured strong play from Charlotte’s offense, which ranks among the best in the A-10. The Niners notched six shots to Temple’s one in the first half. That wasn’t Temple’s only problem.
Rankin went down with a high ankle sprain and couldn’t return until late in the second half.
“I tried to get wide, but all I remember is getting kicked,” Rankin said about the play in which she was injured.
The Owls managed to play through all this and entered halftime knotted, 0-0.
In the second half, Temple relied mainly on its defense, which was led by junior Cori Gallagher.
Gallagher said the team never rolled over against the Niners, who improved to 8-3-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the A-10.
“We put up a good fight,” Gallagher said. “We showed them we can play.”
Charlotte’s Danielle Mayeaux scored in the 79th minute of play to give the Niners a 1-0 lead. That’s all the Niners needed as the score stood. Temple also lost its second key player in the second half when freshman Meridith Crowell went down with an injury with less than four minutes left in regulation.
In goal, freshman Kara Williams recorded five saves.
“They were the best team we played yet,” Williams said of the Niners, who won the regular season title last season with an 8-1 conference record.
The Owls’ next game is at Fordham on Friday at 5 p.m.
Joe Polinsky can be reached at email@example.com.