Shortly after Temple suffered its third-consecutive 1-0 loss to National Soccer Coaches Association of America coaches’ poll No. 20 Connecticut Friday, coach Seamus O’Connor received some reassuring words from Huskies coach Len Tsantiris as the two walked off the rain-soaked field in Storrs, Conn.
“He said, ‘We got lucky. We shouldn’t have won this game,’” O’Connor said. “It’s getting old, though, that we’re right there and we can’t get over the line.”
For the third straight game of American Athletic Conference play, the Owls (8-5, 0-3 American Athletic Conference) were shut out and beaten on a first-half score.
“It’s hard in any sport at any level to go on the road and try and get a result,” O’Connor said. “But these girls are just playing out of their minds.”
The match’s lone goal came in the 37th minute when Huskies striker Rachel Hill, The American’s Preseason Player of the Year, booted a shot from the right side towards the far post, where the ball found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
“Rachel Hill is just unbelievable,” O’Connor said. “I think she’s already on the U.S. U-20 squad and I wouldn’t be surprised to watch her in the Olympics or in the World Cup in a couple of years. She’s just deadly.”
The Owls held the Huskies in check for much of the first half, as Connecticut did not attempt a shot until the 22nd minute.
O’Connor noted two key missed opportunities for his team in the first half, including a failed breakaway attempt by sophomore forward Gabriella McKeown in the first minute and a shot that hit off the post by sophomore forward Elana Falcone in the sixth minute.
Temple outshot Connecticut 8-7 in the first half, but attempted two second-half shots as the Huskies outshot the Owls 19-10 for the match.
“We just came at them and UConn was just throwing bodies in front of our shots,” O’Connor said. “At one stage it was like three shots in a row, it was like shot blocked, shot blocked, shot blocked, like holy smokes just one of them has to rebound off somebody and go in.”
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