Temple field hockey prepares for Big East Conference matches

The last time the Owls won a Big East game was in 2016 against Quinnipiac University.

Junior midfielder Dani Batze prepares to hit the ball during the Owls’ game against Bryant University at Howarth Field on Sept. 13, 2019. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple’s top scorers have never experienced a Big East Conference victory.

Redshirt-freshman midfielder Kerrie Lorenz, junior midfielder Dani Batze and sophomore forward Claire Thomas weren’t on the team for the Owls’ last conference win against Quinnipiac University on Oct. 26, 2016. 

Goalkeeper Maddie Lilliock, midfielder Kathryn Edgar and midfielder Becky Gerhart, now seniors, were the only three players to appear in the Owls’ 3-2 win over the Bobcats.

The Owls, (3-1, 0-0, The Big East), have a chance to break that streak this season. 

The team will play their first conference match on Friday against Liberty University (4-0, 0-0, The Big East) at Howarth Field. In the past three seasons, the Flames have outscored Temple 21-4.

The Owls don’t intend to treat Liberty differently than any other opponent, Thomas said.

“We come out every game as hard as we can,” she added. Thomas is tied for second in points with Batze. 

Temple played Bryant University on Sept. 13, giving them a week to prepare for Liberty. 

“Liberty is going to be a really tough opponent for us,” coach Susan Ciufo said after the 2-0 win over Bryant. “We’re very excited. I think it’s important that we use this week to really hone in on some details and remain disciplined.”

Liberty is first in The Big East based off of their overall record. The Flames are ranked 16th in the nation by the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association Poll. Liberty finished with a 13-6  record in 2018. They were nearly undefeated in conference play last season, with their only loss coming to Connecticut.

The Owls will face UConn (5-1, 0-0, The Big East), another conference powerhouse, on Oct. 4 at Howarth Field at 5 p.m.

UConn was ranked fourth in the NCAA Ratings Percentage Index at the end of 2018 with a 19-4 overall record and a spotless 7-0 conference record. In the most recent NFHCA Poll, UConn is ranked third overall. 

Redshirt-sophomore midfielder Natalie Burns transferred from Connecticut to Temple this summer. She appeared in eight games for the Huskies in 2018.

The coaching staff doesn’t intend to ask Burns how to beat her former team, Ciufo said.

“We don’t want to put any more stress on her,” Ciufo said. “I think she’ll obviously be excited to play against them, and that’s enough. She doesn’t need to hear us, too.”

The Owls came close to a conference win twice in 2018. Temple’s first conference matchup of last season, against Providence College (4-1, 0-0, The Big East), ended in a 2-3 overtime loss. The Owls will play Providence on Sept. 27 in Rhode Island at 6 p.m.

The Owls also suffered a 2-3 loss to Georgetown University (3-3, 0-0, The Big East) in October 2018. The Hoyas lost their most recent matchup against Lehigh University, 3-0. The Owls will travel to Washington, D.C. to face the Hoyas on Oct. 11 at 1 p.m.

“It’s totally different from last year,” Thomas said. “We did not do as good. …I think that we can just keep doing what we’re doing, come out every day ready to play whoever it is and give our hardest, and if our work rate is good, we will come out great.”

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