When Villanova junior forward Courtney Devine scored her second goal of the game to break a 1-1 tie late in the second half of Temple’s 3-2 overtime victory Saturday, the Owls focused on keeping their composure.
“We just really had to stay mentally together,” senior midfielder Alyssa Delp said. “We had to stay mentally tough and just know that there’s still some time left on the clock, and we had to utilize it and just keep chugging away, keep generating offense, keep forcing it so we catch them back on their heels and that we can get the momentum back.”
Trailing 2-1 with 6:25 left in regulation, the Owls (7-12, 3-2 Big East Conference) tried to force overtime and preserve their chance at the No. 2 seed in Big East Conference play.
A shot from sophomore forward Maiyah Brown was saved by Villanova freshman goalkeeper Erika Miller, but sophomore forward Hattie Kuhns scored off the rebound with 5:21 left in the second half to tie the game at two.
In overtime, Brown received a pass from Delp, ran down the field and scored to earn the 3-2 victory for Temple. Miller came off her line to challenge Brown, who delayed and moved around Miller to score.
“I saw the space, and I saw the goalie,” Brown said. “It’s really important to look up and see if the goalie is approaching you or if they’re sitting back, and I was able to take her on the angle.”
After Delp scored the first goal of the game with more than 11 minutes to play in the first half, Villanova sustained more offensive pressure, earning seven penalty corners in the second half.
A penalty corner opportunity initiated the first of Devine’s goals, tying the game at 1.
When the Owls play the Wildcats in the Big East Conference Semifinals Friday, limiting penalty corner opportunities will be a priority.
“I think it just comes down to fundamental skills,” coach Marybeth Freeman said. “I think it comes down to our ability to get in the play earlier, step out in the play earlier, and get our sticks a bit more active earlier. We’ll definitely look to do that this upcoming week.”
Villanova Stadium, where Saturday’s game took place, has field turf, while the Big East Conference tournament is being hosted by Old Dominion’s L.R. Hill Sports Complex, which has AstroTurf like Geasey Field.
The Owls are looking forward to returning to their preferred surface and style of play.
“We’re really going to get back to our game,” Delp said. “We had to change it a little bit just for the different turf so when we get back to our other turf we just got to go back to what we did the last couple games, play our game and use every skill that we have…I think we have a really good chance to come out strong the first game of the tournament, hopefully win that one and then see first place seed, whoever wins the other game, and just keep playing our game just doing what we got to do to win that game no matter what it costs.”
Evan Easterling can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org