Temple couldn’t overcome a slow start in the first half in Sunday’s matchup with American University, falling to the Eagles 4-3.
It was the third-straight loss for the Owls (3-7) , who allowed American to convert its first two shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of the game.
“There are a couple of variables that maybe played into it,” coach Marybeth Freeman said. “It may be the fact that they scored first, maybe there are a lot of things that we can bounce back and forth, but our whole thought process is not about how to react when something happens. It’s how to be proactive and make things happen. It’s not really about what the other team did, it’s about what we weren’t able to do.”
One minute, 30 seconds after the opening whistle, American’s Jess Davis found the back of the net on an open shot in front of the cage. Seven minutes later, the Eagles struck again on a shot from Rafaela Rubas into the top right corner of the net.
The score remained 2-0 until senior forward Tricia Light finished a pass from senior midfielder Alyssa Delp into the cage off of a penalty corner as time expired in the first half.
In the second half, the Eagles scored twice before the 10-minute mark to extend their lead to 4-1.
Fourteen minutes after Delp’s penalty stroke made the score 4-2, sophomore attacker Sarah Keer put a shot into the right side of the cage to cut her team’s deficit to one goal with just more than three minutes left in regulation.
But Temple couldn’t crack the Eagles’ defense in the waning minutes, securing the Owls’ fifth loss in their last six games. American outshot Temple 16-12 in the game and had 12 penalty corners compared to the Owls’ seven.
“Unfortunately we have put ourselves in this situation before where we get that hunger towards the end of the game after realizing we’re down,” Delp said. “And after the game, if we don’t win, we realize we should’ve just played that way the whole time, coming out with that kind of fierce hunger for the goal.”
Temple has four days to prepare for their Big East Conference opener against Old Dominion University, the No. 15 team in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association coaches’ poll. Friday’s will be the team’s sixth contest against a ranked team in 2015. The Owls are 0-5 so far.
“We always have two options,” Freeman said. “We can say ‘woe is me’, put our heads down, and stop playing, or we can actually rise to the occasion and understand there is going to be a good challenge and this is why we practice. It’s to play against the best. … We understand that we may have lost, but the important thing to keep on the front burner is the fact that we’re making changes. We just have to do it over the course of a 70-minute game.”
Matt Cockayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @MattCockayne55.