Temple women’s soccer (3-6-3, 1-2 The American Athletic Conference) lost to Tulsa (7-6, 1-2 The AAC), 1-0, Thursday night at Hurricane Stadium in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Each team had several chances to score as the Owls had 14 shots on net and the Golden Hurricane had 15. The Golden Hurricane broke through in the 17th minute when freshman midfielder Emilie Torres scored off a cross from senior midfielder Ashtan Hustava.
Coach Seamus O’Connor was disappointed with his team’s performance in the first half.
“We didn’t show up in the first half,” O’Connor said. “We only played 45 minutes. I was disappointed because we’re usually better than that. We just weren’t aggressive. We sat back too much and let Tulsa come at us. It was much better in the second half, Tulsa couldn’t breathe on offense. It was like night and day. But we didn’t look like ourselves in the first half.”
The Owls had their first chance to score in the 10th minute. Junior defender Marissa DiGenova used her speed to get up the right side and passed to sophomore forward Gabriela Johnson inside the box. Johnson took a shot, but Tulsa senior goalkeeper Mica MacKay got a hand on it to keep it out. Senior forward Morgan Morocco got the rebound and took a shot, but put it wide of the net.
“It was really frustrating because for the first 10 minutes we played really well,” O’Connor said. “Then the next 35 minutes we just dropped off. It was very surprising because the mood and confidence had been great. But for about 35 minutes there, we just dropped off and became too defensive. That’s just not who we are.”
After halftime, the Owls continually put pressure on the backline for the Golden Hurricane and had many chances to equalize, but couldn’t finish in the final third.
Junior midfielder Julia Dolan got a shot on net inside the box in the 54th minute, but it was blocked away by a Tulsa defender. Junior defender Djavon Dupree ran from upfield to join the rush and got a chance to score off the rebound, but her shot went right into the hands of MacKay.
DiGenova had a chance to score in the 67th minute after Morocco fed her a through ball. DiGenova got a shot off under pressure, but MacKay made the save.
The Owls had their best chance to score later in the match. In the 77th minute, Johnson found herself with almost a wide-open net to work with at the top of the box, but her shot went wide.
“We were suffocating them on defense and beating them up the field,” O’Connor said. “We just weren’t able to put the ball in the net. We had two wide-open chances, and we missed both of them. Their goalie came up with some big saves off rebounds and such, but it comes down to us not scoring.”
The Owls will play Memphis (11-1, 3-0 The AAC) for a conference matchup on Sunday. The Tigers are ranked ninth in the United Soccer Coaches poll and have won nine consecutive matches.