With a 5-0 shutout over Saint Louis, the team improved to 2-2 in the A-10.
Sophomore forward Katie Briglia led the field hockey team to a crucial Atlantic Ten Conference win with a hat trick in a 5-0 victory against Saint Louis.
Temple entered the contest with Saint Louis on Sunday after losing to Massachusetts Friday. The loss to the Minutemen gave the Owls a 2-2 record in the A-10. With only three games left to play before the A-10 tournament, a bounce-back win was needed because of the dire implications that back-to-back losses would have on the team’s A-10 title hopes. The Owls sought that win in a matchup against the Billikens, who entered the game 0-4 in the A-10. The Owls denied the Billikens their first conference win because of Briglia’s big day and her total control of the game.
The Owls took to the field and didn’t waste time seeking an early lead. Seven minutes into play, the Owls achieved their first penalty corner of the game as a result of their aggressive offensive play. The Owls were able to get a shot on that penalty corner for their leading scorer on the season, junior forward Bridget Settles. Although Settles’ shot went just wide, the early opportunity set the tone for the Temple offense.
The next 8:25 of game time were dominated by Briglia, who scored all three of her goals within that time, doubling her season goal tally to six on the season.
Briglia’s unassisted first goal was the result of her maneuvering through the Saint Louis defense. Her second goal came off of an assist by junior midfielder Kaylee Keener less than four minutes later. Briglia’s hat trick goal came on a penalty corner opportunity with assists from Keener, and senior forward Taryn Nichols.
Briglia’s three goals in the first half all but wrapped up the victory for the Owls and were crucial in setting the tone for the team early on.
“It was exciting,” Briglia said. “Coming off the loss to UMass, we just wanted to come out and score a bunch of goals to prove that we shouldn’t have been shut out like that.”
“I don’t know if I have [seen a hat trick happen that fast], but probably not,” coach Amanda Janney said. “Katie is such a strong player for us, and she plays with a lot of confidence. When she’s on, she’s an outstanding player.”
With the Briglia hat trick, Temple’s offense controlled the flow of play. The Owls were able to put 13 shots on goal in the first half.
“[The offense] really came out strong,” Janney said. “It’s something that we’ve been working on – controlling the tempo and playing to our level of intensity.”
The Owls defense was all over the place, too, allowing only one shot on goal for the Billikens in the half.
“Our defense played great,” Janney said. “They were really aggressive today, and they did a great job of denying Saint Louis.”
The second half mirrored the first in many ways. Once again, the Owls came out aggressively on the offensive end, trying to build on their 3-0 lead. At the 42:06 mark, Temple gained another penalty corner chance, the team’s sixth of the game. Nichols was able to gain position right next to the goal and pound home a rebound to add a goal to her first-half assist. The goal gave Temple a comfortable 4-0 lead over the Billikens.
The comfortable advantage was not lost on Janney, as she used the opportunity to allow some of her reserves some substantial minutes and her starters some rest.
“For me, it was about rewarding the nonstarters,” Janney said. “They work so hard at practice. They are just as dedicated and committed to the team as the starters. I’m happy to reward them with the playing time that they have worked hard for.”
The remainder of the second half was characterized by ball control from the Owls as they looked to use up the remainder of the clock. At the 66:16 mark, Keener recorded a goal on a penalty stroke that lifted the Owls to a 5-0 win. The first and only shot on goal in the half for Saint Louis came with 3:10 remaining in play.
Senior goalkeeper Sarah Dalrymple recorded her conference-leading sixth shutout of the season on the strength of just one save on the day.
The Owls will be back at it Friday, as they travel to Richmond in another crucial A-10 matchup.
Raymond Boyd can be reached at email@example.com.