In their first game of the 2013 regular season, the Temple Owls defeated the NJIT Highlanders 2-0, behind two Ingrid Mello goals, on Friday night in Newark, NJ.
“Today we had success,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “The freshmen have an idea of what we do and how we want them to play”.
Temple’s win is it’s first season opening victory since 2011 while NJIT was shutout by the Owls for the second consecutive year, following a 1-0 defeat in 2012.
Mello made her first career start against the Highlanders and made the most of her opportunity, netting a goal in each half.
“[Mello] was so phenomenal,” senior defender Karly O’Connor said. “Her finishing was phenomenal. She played super hard. She did a great job”.
Mello, junior defender Alyssa Kirk, and freshman midfielder Taylor Matsinger led the Owls with two shots each. Freshman midfielder Jillian DiBlasi recorded an assist.
“I’m very happy and excited,” Mello said. “All of the girls are very good. I think the team is great [and] I hope we keep getting better”.
In the process of recording her fifth shutout in 11 career games played and first victory of the season, sophomore goalkeeper Shaunie Kerkhoff saved two of the nine shots faced.
“To get the first game, a win [on the road], is huge,” O’Toole said.
For NJIT, junior defender Jenny Cislo led the team with two shots. Sophomore forward Madeline Griep and senior forward Rebecca Tustin each recorded a shot on goal.
Sophomore goalkeeper Samantha Bersett recorded three saves in a game where she faced 11 shots.
Early in the first period, each team had their shot opportunities but it wasn’t until the 22nd minute that Mello slipped pass two defenders and scored her first goal of the day, putting Temple ahead 1-0.
In the second period, shortly after a substitution that brought Mello and DiBlasi onto the field, DiBlasi dished to Mello for the second score of the game. Mello’s 70th minute goal gave Temple the 2-0 lead and with the defense holding for the remainder of the half, NJIT never gained an opportunity to cut the deficit.
“I was very impressed by the maturity of this team,” O’Connor said. “They just handled the game so well. Afterward, there wasn’t a huge celebration it was ‘OK, that was one and now we’re on to the next one.”
Brien Edwards can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BErick1123.