When Temple lost to the University of Florida in last season’s Big East Conference semifinal, Morgan Glassford’s NCAA lacrosse career ended. But her collegiate soccer career was about to begin.
Glassford earned the Central League MVP and Delaware County Player of the Year awards in soccer at Strath Haven High School in 2012. After playing four years of college lacrosse, Glassford made the transition to the Owls’ soccer team as a graduate student at the forward position.
She scored the first two goals of her career in an 8-0 victory against Delaware State University on Sept. 17.
“It felt great to finally score,” Glassford said. “It was great that I got the finishes that I wanted. It gave me a lot of confidence.”
“We try to keep her positive because she hasn’t played soccer in a while,” senior forward Gabriella McKeown said. “We encourage her to work hard and try to bring her back to the same level she was before.”
Glassford has played in seven games so far and recorded five shots. She prepared for the transition from lacrosse to soccer this summer with her boyfriend, former Temple men’s soccer player Matt Mahoney. He started 62 games for Temple from 2013-16 and is currently a defender for the Bethlehem Steel of the United Soccer League, which is affiliated with Major League Soccer.
The two worked on soccer fundamentals like dribbling, passing, shooting and crosses. She said her touch was the skill she needed to improve the most.
Before this season, Glassford hadn’t played competitive soccer since high school, but she has impressed coach Seamus O’Connor with her adjustment to the speed of Division I soccer.
“She played on a lot of teams before coming to play here,” O’Connor said. “I didn’t expect her to adjust to the more complex tactics right away. I wanted and expected her to just focus on the basic skills such as dribbling and shooting. She has acquired a ton of confidence. … She has grown so much at her position since August.”
Glassford said the recruiting process was tough in high school because she had to pick between playing lacrosse or soccer in college. Drexel, Robert Morris University, Villanova and Lafayette College recruited her for lacrosse.
“It was a really difficult decision because it was getting close to the time of choosing,” Glassford said. “My mom played lacrosse and was my coach for years, and it ended up working out that way.”
In the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Glassford earned Big East first-team honors. She holds the lacrosse program’s career record for draw controls with 174.
Glassford helped the lacrosse team make the Big East tournament final in her junior season. She said her postseason experience with the lacrosse team can help the soccer team get back to the American Athletic Conference tournament.
The Owls are coming off a 3-16 season in 2016. They missed the conference tournament for the first time since they posted a 2-6-1 record in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2012.
“I already know what it takes to get a team to the playoffs,” Glassford said. “I knew coming in that I had to prove to be the best. It prepared me for the team aspect of sports and taught me teamwork skills as well.”