Coming out strong

Owls spoil VCU’s conference opener.

In Virginia Commonwealth University’s first ever Atlantic 10 Conference matchup, the Temple Owls kept a little known streak going.

 Friday’s 2-1 win over VCU is the Owls’ third win in three years against their first A-10 opponent of the season, and their fifth in the last seven. Temple has defeated St. Joseph’s University in their opening A-10 game from 2010 to 2011 and now beat VCU in their first ever conference matchup in the A-10.

 “That’s great to know,” Coach Amanda Janney said. “That is a great credit to Katie Briglia and her teammates.”

 “It’s great to start out like that,” Junior Forward Lauren Hunt said. “Now the next thing is to be consistent throughout and keep going all the way to the [A-10 Tournament].”

 “I think we really pump them up for the A-10 games,” Janney said. “We know how important it is.”

 For the Owls, it becomes a brand new season when they start playing conference opponents.

 “Everything changes,” Janney said. “It is a new season for us. We really try to pump [the team] up for A-10’s.”

 However the first conference win of Temple’s 2012 campaign did not come easy.

 Both Temple and VCU were coming off blowout defeats in their previous games. Temple was shutout 6-0 by Maryland last Sunday and VCU could only manage one goal in a 6-1 defeat to the University of North Carolina.

 “Sunday was rough,” redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lizzy Millen said.

 Both teams were looking to bounce back from bad games, but on paper, VCU looked like the better team with an 8-2 record compared to Temple’s 6-6 mark.

  VCU however, entered Friday’s game shorthanded. The team was without its head coach Shannon Karl, who was issued a red card in the second half of the loss to North Carolina. Karl was issued a one game suspension in compliance to NCAA rules and regulations.

 “I think it was an advantage for us to just know to keep to our strategy,” sophomore forward Amber Youtz said. “If they were off their strategy than we could capitalize on that.”

 Youtz scored the first goal of the game and her team leading 14th of the season to put Temple up 1-0.

 Temple’s defense and goaltending by Millen kept VCU off the board for the majority of the game.  But VCU’s senior forward Kelsey Scherrer tied that game at one with just over four minute left to play and taking away what would have been Millen’s first shutout of the year.

 “I haven’t had one all season and for some reason we have been talking about the fact that I haven’t had one all season,” Millen said. “I was excited to try for it but you win some, you lose some. We still won so that’s what matters.”

 The Owls responded back though. Laurent Hunt scored the game winning goal just 56 seconds later and the defense was able to keep VCU contained until time expired.

 Along with being VCU’s first conference game, it was also the team’s first game against Temple since September 2007. Temple won the game at home by a 3-1 final.

 With their three game win streak in opening A-10 games, Temple has also finished each year with an above .500 record against conference opponents.

 The Owls finished with a 4-3 conference record in 2010 and a 4-2 record in 2011. However, Temple has not had a winning record in either of those seasons.

 They are 7-6 after Friday’s win, with seven games left to play in the regular season, before the A-10 Championships begin in early November.

 Temple still has to win a few more games to earn a winning record, but Millen believes that the team will continue to get better.

 “We are just going to keep going up from here,” Millen said.

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