Close to title, but no cigar

The field hockey team made it to the Atlantic Ten Championship but lost, 3-0, to Richmond.

The field hockey team fell one win shy of an Atlantic Ten title and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament this weekend in Amherst, Mass. The Owls (9-12 overall, 4-2 A-10) advanced to the A-10 tournament on the strength of a 4-2 win against eventual champions the Richmond Spiders (13-8 overall, 5-1 A-10) on the final day of the regular season. The Spiders came back and bit the Owls, 3-0, in the championship game Saturday.

Temple entered the A-10 Championships riding a three-game winning streak, with victories against La Salle, Saint Louis and Richmond. Each victory proved crucial for the Owls, who came down the stretch needing every win to secure a spot in the tournament. With the win against Richmond on that last day of the regular season, Temple earned the third seed and faced Saint Joseph’s, while Richmond played defending champion Massachusetts. The Owls had beaten both Richmond and then-No. 10 UMass during the regular season, but in the first round, they drew the one team in the tournament they had not yet beaten, St. Joe’s, who beat the Owls, 4-0, back on Oct. 9.

Since the Owls’ first-round game against St. Joe’s took place 3 p.m. Friday, the Owls already knew their opponent would be Richmond should they win.

And as the game against St. Joe’s got underway, it didn’t take long for Temple’s offense to take control. Within the first six minutes of action, the Owls earned two corner opportunities. They capitalized on the second one when senior forward Kasey Ruth scored off an assist from senior defenseman Kristen Wanner to put The Owls on top, 1-0. Early in the second half, junior goalkeeper Sarah Dalrymple made a save on a Hawks’ attempt that would have tied the game. Not only did the save preserve Temple’s lead, it also gave the Owls possession, which led to a two-on-one goal by senior midfielder Charise Young thanks to an assist from freshman Katie Briglia.

Ruth would later score again to increase the lead to 3-0, the game’s final score.

“Perfect execution on her part,” coach Amanda Janney said of Ruth’s performance, especially her goal-scoring.

The 3-0 shutout, Dalrymple’s fourth of the year, sent the Owls to their first A-10 title game in six years and their first championship appearance with Janney as coach. Temple had not won an A-10 title since 1994, and that streak continued after the team faced Richmond. The Spiders’ only A-10 loss this season came to Temple, and they exacted revenge.

Neither team did much offensively. The Owls’ leading scorer, sophomore forward Bridget Settles, had a shot blocked 10 minutes into the first half. It seemed like defense would characterize this game, which was not a problem for Temple, which had only allowed six goals in its last six games.

Richmond broke the defensive dominance, as A-10 leading scorer senior defender Sarah Blythe-Wood scored the first goal, her 21st of the season, on a corner opportunity. Richmond wasted no time padding its lead and added another goal five minutes later on a two-on-one opportunity by sophomore forward Katelin Peterson. The Spiders eventually won, 3-0.

“[Despite the loss], I think with the returning crew we have [Settles and Dalrymple], I do expect to be in the final game next year,” Janney said.

Raymond Boyd can be reached at raymond.boyd@temple.edu.

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