Sports

Long losing streak snapped with two wins

After a dreadful 11-game winless streak, the Owls finished their season on a high note with a pair of victories.

After an 11-game drought spanning more than a month and a half, the women’s soccer team finally notched a win.

Make that two.

The Owls defeated Richmond and George Washington 1-0 and 2-1 last weekend to finish their season 4-11-4 overall and 2-6-3 in the Atlantic Ten Conference. The victories over the Spiders and Colonials were the team’s first since back-to-back wins over St. Peter’s and Vermont on Sept. 12 and 14.

Freshman Niki Conn dribbles through the rain in a game earlier this season. She finished with four goals and one assist this year (TTN File Photo).

“I think that’s what we’ve been working toward,” coach David Jones said. “We’ve been so close all season. We had five to six games where we lost 1-0 or 2-1. And at the end of this weekend, all our hard work finally paid off.”

And it finally showed on the offensive side of the field.

Prior to the Richmond and George Washington games, Temple scored only four goals during that 11-game stretch. Two of them came in one game.

It’s not surprising then that the team won none of them and tied only three times.

“We don’t have that one player who’s the goal scorer on the team,” Jones said. “It is hard to score goals at this level, so we have had to depend on our defense to keep games close and shut the other team down.”

Temple’s largely absent offense was shutout 11 times this season and as of Oct. 27, ranked either dead last or next to last in shots, goals and assists in the 14-team conference.

Only Xavier ranked lower in two of those categories, and they finished the season with one win overall and none in the A-10, one spot below the Owls in the conference basement.

“We’re a young team,” Jones said. “Even though we had a few seniors this year, we relied on freshmen and sophomores a lot. Plus, the competition within the A-10 is hard.”

The Owls will have to face that competition next year minus the services of six seniors, including defender Cori Gallagher and forward Charisma Wright. They scored the game-winning goals in both games this weekend.

“We’re definitely going to miss them a lot,” Jones said. “They’ve grown a lot, and even though it doesn’t look like it with our win-loss record, they’ve taken this program to another level and turned the mentality around. We gave the six teams in the A-10 Tournament this year good games.”

Next year’s squad will depend heavily on this year’s sophomore class, as only one current junior, defender and midfielder Carly Metzger will be back.

“This year’s sophomores are going to start and get a lot of minutes next year,” Jones said. “[Current sophomore defender] Julia Adden will take over Cori Gallagher’s leadership role. And Allicia Yurkovic [a current freshman midfielder] will probably start, too,” he added. “She’s had some injuries but has improved as the season has gone on. We’ll also be looking at freshmen to step up and fill in at some spots.

“Hopefully, by ending on a high note, this success will carry over into next season and give us a chance to compete in every A-10 game.”

Jennifer Reardon can be reached at jennifer.reardon@temple.edu.

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