Temple’s 2-1 win against Bucknell on Saturday came down to defense.
The Bison dominated offensively in the second half, outshooting the Owls 12-1. But behind seven saves from redshirt senior goalkeeper Lizzy Millen, and some timely stops in the back and midfield, Temple managed to run out the clock and escape with the victory.
“We got the job done,” Millen said. “But by no means was it pretty.”
The Owls were in control throughout the first half, generating seven shots and five penalty corners, though they failed to convert on any of those corner chances.
Senior forward Amber Youtz scored the lone goal of the period, taking in a pass from sophomore forward Katie Foran, and putting a shot past Bucknell junior goalkeeper Shannon Keen from five yards out.
Youtz recorded her second of the day, and sixth of the season, just over 11 minutes into the second, taking the ball from the midfield and into the right of the circle, where she fired another shot by Keen.
The Bison offense woke up right after.
The team drew just two corners the entire game, but they came back-to-back in the 49th minute. Bucknell converted on the second one, with senior midfielder Amie Pritchard scoring on a redirect.
The Bison followed up by taking seven more shots within the final 20 minutes, four of them coming in the last nine. Millen, however, denied each chance, including two breakaway opportunities.
“I don’t think we really anticipated how badly they were going really come back,” Millen said. “They really put forth a lot effort, and I don’t think we really matched them as well as we should have.”
“They did a great job to put pressure on us,” coach Amanda Janney said. “They were aggressive in their attack and put us under good pressure so it was good to see the defense hold strong.”
Janney was also happy to see Millen step up in the game’s pivotal moments.
“She is a competitor,” Janney said. “So she is going to step up to the challenge. She plays great in tough situations, whether it’s teams like Maryland where we know they have some amazing forwards or teams like Bucknell where they put a lot of pressure and get aggressive in our circle.”
“We know Lizzy is going to step up big for us,” Janney added.
The defense, meanwhile, worked to cover every chance possible.
“We just picked up the communication,” junior defender Taylor Shronk said. “[Senior defender Rachel Steinman] and [junior defender Sarah Deck] even [redshirt freshman defender/midfielder Elle Hempt] on the right side coming in did a good job of making sure that everybody was covered.”
“Lanes were covered inside the circle,” Shronk added. “Lizzy did a good job of making sure that we were all shifting together, and that was key to keeping our marks and just working together, making sure that nobody was left wide open.”
The Owls (5-2) will return home on Sunday, with a matchup against Drexel (3-3) at 2 p.m. The game will be dedicated to Phila Field Hockey Day, which celebrates all levels of the sport in the area.
Nick Tricome can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @itssnick15.