Coming off a 2-0 loss on Friday to Delaware, Temple fell to La Salle 3-2 in overtime in their away game on Sunday.
La Salle came into the contest ranked second in the National Soccer Coaches of America’s Mid-Atlantic regional rankings. Coach Seamus O’Connor described the Explorers as the best competition his team has seen all season.
Unable to get the win in overtime, the Owls play still impressed O’Connor, who was not as satisfied with his team after Friday night’s loss to Delaware.
“I don’t believe we played on Friday. I’ve erased that one from my memory,” said O’Connor. “Today was who we are. Today was what Temple women’s soccer is all about.”
The Owls found themselves playing from behind in the first half after La Salle scored in the 26th minute. After gaining some momentum before the half, they came out in the second frame putting pressure on the Blue Hens.
Temple tied the game up when Kayla Cunningham found a way to put the ball in the back of the net from a difficult angle in the 64th minute.
O’Connor and his staff tried to get Cunningham, who put three of her four shots on goal, more opportunities to put the ball on net in the game by playing her in a new spot on the field.
“We moved her to a new position today just to see if we could free her up for that shot and she had couple,” said O’Connor. “She ripped a couple and a couple of inches either way and they were in.”
Thirteen minutes after Cunningham’s goal the Explorers were able to answer with a goal of their own cutting into the momentum that Temple had built. The resilient Owls were not done yet though.
Shortly after La Salle’s goal Alyssa Kirk was able to rip a shot from well outside the box right by the Explorers’ goalkeeper. The play was set up when Kelly Farrell quickly passed the ball to Kirk off a corner while La Salle was still setting up their defense.
Despite a number of good looks on net, the Owls were unable to find the game winner in regulation and the Explorers netted one of their own three minutes into overtime.
In the loss some positives were found for the Owls. After a game on Friday in which they were outshot 15-4, the Owls offense rebounded today tying the Explorers in shots with 13 and putting eight of those shots on goal.
Sunday’s game marked the last game before the start of play in the American Athletic Conference for the Owls. The team’s non-conference record heading into conference play is 7-2.
Prior to the season, the 7-2 mark was “the best case scenario” they saw themselves in. O’Connor felt the play of his team in Sunday’s game will help them be in a good position when they take on Cincinatti on Thursday to start play in the American.
“At this time of year it’s about getting ready for the conference. So yeah I hate losing but I’ll take the performance.”
Owen McCue can be reached at email@example.com