The Temple field hockey team got four second-half goals from four different players to overtake Atlantic 10 rival Rhode Island, 5-2, on Sunday at Geasey Field.
The Rams handed the Owls a season-ending 3-1 defeat in last year’s A-10 semifinal round, and Sunday was the first time the two team have met since then.
Temple senior midfielder Kacy Ziomek broke a 2-2 tie with 13:16 left in the game and the Owl never looked back.
The victory boosted the Owls to a 2-1 record in the conference.
Ziomek’s goal came off a penalty corner opportunity. Senior offensive co-captain Jessica Jaworski got an assist on the play as Ziomek ripped the ball past Rhode Island goaltender Amanda Heryla to give the Owls a 3-2 lead.
Senior Julie Martinez and Jaworski closed the door on the Rams, each adding a goal in the final two minutes to give the Owls a hard-fought 5-2 victory.
“The win lets us be in control of our goals,” Temple head coach Lauren Fuchs said. “This game is huge because it gives us two wins in the conference, so we may not be in a dogfight.”
The Owls took control of the game early when Martinez opened the scoring with her third goal of the season. Her tally came with 7:12 left in the first half.
Rhode Island answered Martinez and Temple with a goal by Ram senior Kelley Bornowski scored a pair of goals, putting Rhody in front, 2-1, going into the halftime.
Temple came out on the attack in the second half. Senior co-captain Jill Polmateer tied the score with her second goal of the season. Polmateer’s goal set off the Owl offense, which went on to tie its biggest output of the season with five goals.
Senior goalie Serene McGrath had another brilliant game in the cage for Temple, making 14 saves, including eight in the second half.
“Serene made some critical saves to keep us down only one goal,” Fuchs said. “Two or three goals could have been a back breaker and she kept us in the game until Kacy got that huge goal.”
The victory capped off the Owls’ weekend, in which they played two quality conference opponents in Rhode Island and No. 9-ranked Massachusetts on Saturday.
Temple emerged from the weekend with a split, losing, 2-1, to UMass on Saturday.
“They’re blood baths,” Fuchs said of the weekend’s games. “What I expected was pretty much what I got: being in two hard battles. It’s tough doing it back-to-back but I think our players did a great job with it.”
The Owls kept with the Minutewomen, but a momentary second-half lapse allowed two Umass goals just 2:16 apart.
Temple tried to mount a comeback in the last 12 minutes. Junior forward Juliann Leskiw scored her third goal of the season with 11:04 left in the half to pull Temple within a goal. Freshman Haley Dervinis assisted Leskiw on the goal.
The Owls continued to pressure the UMass net and had four corner opportunities in the final three minutes, but were never able to capitalize. Time ran out and Temple fell, 2-1.
The two team battled to a scoreless first half, thanks in large part to McGrath. The senior goalie made 11 saves in the game, including one spectacular stop on a Minutewoman penalty shot with 2:25 remaining in the first half.
McGrath dove to the right, deflecting the penalty shot wide of the net, touching off a celebration on the Owl bench.
On Wednesday, the Owls will welcome inter-conference foe Rutgers to Geasey Field for their last home game of the season. Temple will finish the regular season with four straight road game against A-10 rivals West Chester and St. Joseph’s, and then against non-conference opponents Virginia Commonwealth and Old Dominion.
The A-10 Conference Championship Tournament runs November 3-5 at UMass.