Field hockey remains winless in Big East play

Villanova scored two goals in the first 15 minutes of its 3-1 win on Friday at Howarth Field.

Junior backer Nellie Doyle sends the ball upfield in the Owls’ season-opening loss to St. Joseph’s on Aug. 25 at Howarth Field. | JAMIE COTTRELL / TTN FILE PHOTO

Temple and Villanova each entered Friday’s matchup at Howarth Field coming off wins in their previous games and hoped to continue that momentum.

Two early goals by Villanova (5-8, 2-3 Big East Conference) helped the Wildcats beat the Owls (4-9, 0-5 Big East), 3-1.

The Owls held Villanova scoreless in the second half, but Villanova scored twice in the first 15 minutes to take an early lead. Sophomore forward and midfielder Abby Siana scored her third goal of the season in the 10th minute, and senior forward Francesca Bello scored her fourth goal of the season four minutes and 42 seconds later.

“When you really only compete hard for half a game, you’re in a catch-up situation and that makes things really difficult,” coach Marybeth Freeman said.

“I thought our individual defense was pretty sloppy,” Freeman said. “I think that we got a little loose with our skills in a very critical area of the field. And that put us back on our heels.”

Sophomore forward Lucy Reed scored her first-career goal with less than nine minutes remaining in the first half to cut the deficit to one. She also led the Owls with three shots on goal. Then 5:18 after Reed’s goal, Villanova scored its final goal on a penalty corner. The Owls allowed seven penalty corners, and Villanova outshot Temple 22-14.

Freeman said she was fairly satisfied with the way the team played in the final 10 minutes of the game, but it wasn’t enough to spark a comeback and help the team get its first Big East win.

“I think that we need to maximize every single minute we have and sadly we didn’t do that,” Freeman said.

Junior goalkeeper Chloe Johnson made a career-high 10 saves, and some of the team’s front-field players provided good contributions the team hadn’t “seen in the past,” Freeman said.

Freeman hopes her team can carry the positives of the second half, when the Owls generated eight shots and four penalty-corner opportunities, into Sunday afternoon’s game against Penn at Howarth Field.

“Looking at next game, we have to come out and play the whole 70 minutes,” Freeman said.

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