The start looked promising, but Temple couldn’t keep it going.
The Owls lost to No. 19 Louisville on Friday, dropping to 4-8 on the season and 1-2 in conference play.
Louisville was coming off a dominant 23-2 win over fellow Big East rival Cincinnati last week, which featured a first half in which the Cardinals scored 14 goals.
Temple, however, didn’t let Louisville get off to a similar start. The Owls stuck with them, with the defense holding the Cardinals to two goals throughout most of the first half.
“Going in, we didn’t really think about their ranking or anything like that,” graduate defender Nina Falcone said. “We just basically said, ‘We’re going to play our game.’”
“The last couple weeks we’ve really made some big gains,” Falcone added. “That was basically what we went into thinking, we were going to capitalize on what we got better at.”
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Jaqi Kakalecik helped Temple’s cause, coming up with three first half saves off quality scoring chances by Louisville. Meanwhile, sophomore midfielder Nicole Tiernan and sophomore attacker Rachel Schwaab each scored to lock the Owls in a 2-2 tie with the Cardinals.
But it wouldn’t last.
With 6:05 left in the first, sophomore midfielder Cortnee Daly scored to give Louisville the lead, and then came up with another less than two minutes later to make it a 4-2 lead.
Although the half ended with Temple facing a two-goal deficit, Louisville never gave up its lead.
The Cardinals outscored the Owls 11-4 in the second half, scoring eight of those goals within the first 15 minutes.
The Cardinals were led by a hat-trick from Daley, four goals from senior attacker Nikki Boltja and five from junior attacker Faye Brust. Sophomore midfielder Kaylin Morissette also added two goals, but carried her weight on the draw, winning 12 of Louisville’s 16 draw controls – she is currently second in the nation in draw controls per game with 8.73.
Morissette took 10 of her controls in the second half alone, helping the Cardinals gain a 15-2 advantage in draw controls for the half, after Temple won six of eight in the first.
“When you consistently lose draw controls momentum definitely switches to the other team,” senior midfielder Lea Britton said. “We kind of let it get to us more than it should have.”
The Owls weren’t without any answer, although any one they came up with was brief. Tiernan scored two more goals in the second to complete the hat-trick, and then tallied one more with just more than five minutes left in the game. Freshman midfielder Carly Demato also scored with 7:23 left, but Louisville was already up 14-5 by then. Junior goalkeeper Rachel Hall eventually replaced Kakalecik, playing the final seven and a half minutes, after Hall allowed 14 goals.
The game marked Temple’s second last home game of the season, as the final one for seniors Jaymie Tabor, Kelly Syphard, Britton and Falcone is Sunday at noon against Cincinnati.
Falcone and Britton both said that the moment will be bittersweet.
“You want to enjoy it and hopefully come out with a win,” Britton said.
Friday’s game was Friends of Jaclyn Day, where eight-year old Lily Adkins – who was adopted by the team in 2010 – was there as an honorary starter and introduced before the game.
Adkins was treated for an ependymoma brain tumor when she was 14 months old, but recovered and has been fine ever since.
Friends of Jaclyn is a non-profit organization that pairs children and their families up with college and high school sports teams with the aim of supporting and improving the quality of life for children battling pediatric brain tumors.
Nick Tricome can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @itssnick215.