As the final horn sounded, handing Temple (8-4, 0-2) a 1-0 loss to No. 7 South Florida Sunday, coach Seamus O’Connor was amazed by what he saw on his team’s sideline.
After 90 minutes of action in the sweltering heat, the Owls took off their jerseys and attempted to squeeze the sweat out.
O’Connor said he looked at the weather app on his phone during halftime and it estimated the temperature at 115 degrees.
“I’m watching the girls afterwards and there’s water … they’re ringing their jerseys out and there’s so much water it’s like turning on a tap,” O’Connor said. “It was crazy.”
Temple allowed a single, first-half goal for the second straight game, as the team posted back-to-back road losses in the opening weekend of American Athletic Conference play. The Owls fell to Central Florida, 1-0, Sept. 24.
South Florida, which outshot the Owls 19-7, scored the lone goal of the game in the 23rd minute when a shot by junior forward Leticia Skeete was redirected off the foot of a Temple player, escaping the reach of freshman goalkeeper Jordan Nash, who made seven saves on the day.
Nash has faced a season-high 19 shots in back-to-back games and has recorded six or more saves in each of her last four starts.
“I can’t say we got unlucky because Jordan had a couple of great saves, but the chance they scored on actually ended up being an own goal,” O’Connor said. “Jordan was going one way and it got redirected past her and that was really bad luck.”
O’Connor said Sunday’s loss to South Florida was nearly identical to the team’s previous game against Central Florida, with the exception of the team’s offensive strategy. Against Central Florida, the Owls chose to sit back and defend until the second half.
Temple scrapped the defensive mindset Sunday and tried to score early, but with no success.
In the second half, O’Connor moved sophomore Gabriella McKeown from defense to offense in hopes of putting pressure on South Florida’s defense with the combination of leading-scorer Kelly Farrell and McKeown up top.
Ten minutes into the second half, McKeown went up for a header and took an elbow to the back of her head. South Florida’s team doctor examined her and found no symptoms that would indicate a concussion, but recommended she be re-evaluated in 24 hours.
O’Connor is still waiting to hear the results of her second test, but said he thinks she will be able to play Friday against No. 18 UConn in Storrs, Conn.
“That really hurt us because for the first 10 minutes of the second half we had two really good opportunities and her and Kelly were a nightmare to handle up there, and then she just got hit in the back of the head and I was like, ‘Oh my god,’” O’Connor said. “When you play those guys, you don’t need stuff going against you.”
Tom Reifsnyder can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Tom_Reifsnyder