After they lost to No. 16 Drexel on Wednesday, the Owls fell, 4-2, to No. 15 American on Saturday.
For the first time in four games, the field hockey team scored first. However, that didn’t stop Drexel from handing Temple its fourth straight loss.
Despite junior forward Bridget Settles’ team-leading seventh goal, the No. 16 Dragons outshot the Owls, 15-10, en route to a 3-1 victory.
“At the end of the game, I just said for our team to keep their heads up because we’re right on the verge of excellence,” coach Amanda Janney said. “We really are playing well. We’re just having trouble putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Unlike the previous three games, Temple’s offense played well early on. The Owls controlled the ball for much of the first 10 minutes, and with 22 minutes remaining, Settles moved the ball into the circle, dodged two defenders and fired a line drive into the back of the goal.
“Our forwards have great moves,” junior midfielder Kaylee Keener said. “They have great shots. They can finish. We just have to work on getting it up to them and then finishing.”
The Owls’ lead didn’t last long. Despite some strong pressure being applied by the defense, the Dragons were able to push the ball into the Temple zone, and with 15:55 left in the first half, Drexel junior forward Ashley Santee deflected a shot from senior forward Jen Cairone that went past Owls’ senior goalie Sarah Dalrymple and skidded into the back of the goal.
“We need to stay better organized,” Keener said. “I think we worked out a lot of problems recently. During the games, we’re really working on our organization in the backfield. We just need a little more practice.
The rest of the half saw Drexel control possession of the ball. The Dragons were able to move the ball into the Temple zone with ease. However, the Owls’ defense repeatedly bailed them out. At the end of the first, Drexel had five shots on goal, and Dalrymple recorded three saves.
“I think we’re doing really good things right now,” Keener said. “Like [coach Janney] told us, we’re on the verge of breaking through. We’re on the verge of exploding.”
The Owls struggled in the second half. Drexel’s offense looked dominant early on, as they were constantly controlling the ball and keeping it in the Temple zone. With 22:57 left in the second, Cairone scored to give the Dragons a 2-1 lead.
Temple could not get anything going offensively in the second half. They managed only five shots, and the only legitimate threat the Owls posed was a breakaway by Settles 15 minutes in that was stopped by Drexel sophomore goalie Jenna Phillips.
“We need to create more shooting opportunities,” Janney said. “We got [six shots on goal], which is okay, but we’re still not putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Santee added her second goal of the game off a penalty corner with 11 minutes left in the second half. Drexel won the game, 3-1.
On Saturday, the Owls lost again to No. 15 American Eagles, 4-2. Settles scored her team-leading eighth goal, and Dalrymple made six saves on 12 shots on goal.
The Owls have now lost five games in a row after starting the season 4-0. Despite their 4-5 record, the Owls still have high hopes for their season, partly due to the irregularity of their schedule. All of their Atlantic Ten Conference games are played at the end of the year. The Owls’ focus seems to be perfecting all of the game’s details in preparation for their conference games.
“I think these losses are tough for our team and our seniors, but we’re focused on A-10s,” Janney said. “I think once we get there, the things we do well will start to show more and more.”
“Going into A-10s, I think we just really need to stick together,” Keener added. “It’s time to focus in on practicing our basic skills and really just finishing right now.”
Joseph Cranney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.