The last time Temple topped Saint Joseph’s in a women’s soccer match, Gina DiTaranto was in elementary school.
The Owls’ junior midfielder deposited the game-winner with three minutes remaining on the clock and handed Temple a 1-0 victory at the Hawks’ Sweeney Field Friday, its first defeat of the Hawks (1-2) since 2000.
The goal was DiTaranto’s team-leading fourth of the season. However, after the victory Friday night, DiTaranto wasn’t going to hog the spotlight.
“I cannot take credit for all those goals,” DiTaranto said. “All the goals I’ve had it was basically off of crosses and I made runs and was there to put them in.”
DiTaranto said the Owls (3-0) were plenty motivated before the win, as the intensity of playing a city rival made for an easy game to get up for.
“You can definitely feel it,” DiTaranto said. “Yesterday we were having a discussion about how we knew it was going to be a tough game.”
Friday also marked the third consecutive shutout for the Owls. DiTaranto noticed the team’s early improvements on defense.
“We’ve definitely been working hard on defensive positioning and I think it’s definitely showed,” DiTaranto said.
Coach Seamus O’Connor was quick to point out how important DiTaranto has been to the team, having jumped to Temple as a University of Delaware transfer before the season.
“Gina’s really on a hot streak right now,” O’Connor said. “She’s been a great addition.”
Despite having not allowed a goal in the first 270 minutes of the season, O’Connor thinks both he and his team can still improve.
“We still haven’t quite played our best game yet,” O’Connor added. “We were good today but I need to do a little bit more in terms of the lineups. However, it’s exciting to see that we aren’t playing 100 percent yet and we’re still 3-0.”
Like DiTaranto and the rest of his players, O’Connor realizes the value of beating a city school, especially one they haven’t beaten in 14 years.
“There’s only one top school in Philadelphia and that’s Temple,” O’Connor said. “We need to make sure when we play other schools in the city who that is.”
Motivating his team wasn’t a problem for O’Connor for this particular matchup.
“This was a real easy game as a coach because everyone understands how important it is to beat a city school,” O’Connor said.
Greg Frank can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @g_frank6.