With the beginning of the 2013 season quickly approaching, the Temple Owls continue to make the necessary preparations for their first year in the Big East.
With practices having started again on August 15, the Owls participated in the Cherry and White Scrimmage on a cloudy Friday afternoon, to practice some in-game scenarios.
A regulation game, a sudden-death overtime period and a shootout were all on the list of scenarios the team worked on.
Turns out that the overtime period would end up being necessary, as the Owls’ starters (wearing white) were in a 4-4 tie with the rest of the team (wearing black) by the end of the regulation game.
“Overtime! Funny how that happened, but we were going to do it anyway,” assistant coach Kelly Driscoll said as the clock hit zero on the first scrimmage.
The first half saw the starters spend a lot of time on offense, causing junior goalkeeper Haley Mitchell, who was playing for the black team, to face a good amount of shots.
But the defense for black was able to keep the starters off the board for a while and managed an early goal by freshman midfielder/forward Sarah Keer.
“I was kind of on the underdog’s team today because we were playing against our starting lineup, but I thought we had a lot of great passing patterns,” Mitchell said. “We really kept our confidence up. We held them for about 25 minutes.”
“I thought both teams did very well, we just need to work on our endurance and stick skills and we’ll be good to go,” Mitchell added.
Although the starters were held scoreless at the start of the scrimmage, they did eventually break through, with junior midfielder Nicole Kroener scoring a goal and junior forward Amber Youtz adding three more by the end of the half.
However, to Mitchell’s credit, she did continue to make some great saves throughout the scrimmage, including a diving stop to disrupt a scoring attempt by Youtz in the latter part of the first.
The case is the same for the goalkeeper at the other end of the field, junior Lizzy Millen, who made a diving stick save with the ball loose in front early in the second half.
“Our goalkeeping is one of our strengths,” head coach Amanda Janney said. “It’s always been one of Temple field hockey’s strengths. Our keepers are in great shape and they’re making some amazing saves.”
Although the intentions of the scrimmage were to get the players ready, both Janney and new graduate assistant coach Danica Deckard were out on the field playing for the black team, who was short of a few players.
Janney even scored a goal during the scrimmage, that was part of a second half comeback that led to the tie.
Goals by senior forward Lauren Hunt, who switched from white to black at halftime, and junior midfielder Nicole Kroener also aided the practice comeback.
The second half of the scrimmage was a more balanced, back-and-forth affair, with both teams transitioning back from offense to defense often.
“I think that we have a lot of depth on our bench and a lot of great players that can play for us this year,” Driscoll said. “Everybody has a really good aggressive and winning mentality and when they get on the field they want to score. So it was a good back-and-forth second half.”
Temple ended the scrimmage with two overtime periods and a shootout.
Both Mitchell and Millen continued to impress, stopping a majority of the shots in the shootout. Mitchell, however, got hit with a surprise when Deckard, who used to play at Ohio State, took a shot on her.
“Knowing Danica, and that she came from Ohio State, I know her shot is amazing,” Mitchell said. “I was expecting her to just whale a shot at my face.”
Instead, Deckard opted to deke out her goalkeeper for a wide open net.
With their season set to open up next Saturday against Ohio State, the Owls still have some work to do before they’re ready to go. But, until then, the players and coaches still manage to have some fun along the way.
Nick Tricome can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @itssnick215.