Only fairy tales are supposed to end this way.
In her final home game sporting a Cherry and White uniform, field hockey’s Megan Hannahoe re-directed a rebound for a game-winning goal to lift the Owls to a 1-0 double overtime win against Saint Louis at Geasey Field Sunday.
“Ending my whole four years like that [with a game-winning goal],” said Hannahoe, a senior sporting a huge smile, “I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Owls coach Amanda Janney expressed a similar sentiment.
“It was a perfect double-overtime, game-winning goal,” Janney said. “She definitely had to earn it, but I’m very happy for her, because it’s a great reward for all of the work she’s put in here.”
But the entire game wasn’t as smooth as its ending.
When asked to come up with one word to sum up the team’s performance, junior midfielder Ashley Bird chose, “Fight, because we had to fight to win this game.”
The Owls (13-5 overall, 4-2 Atlantic Ten Conference) managed nine shots in regulation, with five of them on goal. The Billikens (7-8, 3-3) only notched six shots, but five were on the cage.
Yet neither team could put one past the goalie.
“Our defense has to come first,” Bird said. “When we make big saves it helps us transition to offense.”
“I’m really proud of the defense today,” Janney added. “I thought they played well and it was a hard-fought shutout.”
Part of the deadlock resulted from the play of the goalies. Both goalies entered the game ranked among the conference’s best in goals against average. Temple sophomore Erin Hanshue ranked first, while Billikens junior Amy Wasserman of Saint Louis was third. They both stopped each shot they faced, until Wasserman allowed the game-winner to Hannahoe.
Hanshue, who notched her sixth shut out, passed the credit for the victory.
“I didn’t really have to do much because the defense set them up perfectly and made it easy for me to make saves,” she said.
After 60 grueling minutes, the Owls headed to overtime for the second straight game. On Friday, Temple fell to first-place Richmond 2-1 in a tough loss. The Owls allowed the game-tying goal with just seconds left on the clock then surrendered the game-winner in overtime.
“It was such a heartbreaker losing Friday,” Janney said. “To play this great defense in back-to-back games, that speaks to our strength and our maturity as a team.”
Bird said the Owls were missing something in the beginning of Sunday’s game that they had in Friday’s game.
“We were ready for Richmond,” she said. “We came out [and played] hard. In this one we came out a little flat, but we picked it up in the second half and overtimes. We realized what we needed to do and we got it done.”
Temple dominated on both ends in the first overtime of Sunday’s match, taking five shots, while limiting the Billikens to zero.
The Owls finally notched the game-winner in the second overtime. They shot four more times in the second extra session, including Hannahoe’s rebound at the 94:55 mark, to bring their game total to 18. Her rebound came off of a shot by junior midfielder Alli Lokey, who led the team with 10 shots.
Though the stat sheet shows junior midfielder Leanne Vogelsong took only one shot, her speed and ball control kept St. Louis reeling all day.
“When I dribbled, they decided to stay with their girl instead of coming to me,” Vogelsong said. “And that opened up lanes for me to pass and get it into the center for a corner.”
Temple got off a season-high 18 corners against St. Louis.
Yet, the day belonged to Hannahoe.
“My four years were kind of rocky in the beginning, but when the new coaching staff came in, everything changed for the better,” Hannahoe said. “To end like that … it’s how it should be.”
Terrance McNeil can be reached at email@example.com.