Freshman scores first career goal, Owls break losing streak against Rider University

Freshman midfielder Emma Wilkins scored goals in the 34th and 87th minutes for the Owls in their 3-1 home win on Thursday against Rider University.

For the first time in nearly two years, Jordan Nash didn’t start in goal.

The junior became the starter as a freshman in 2015 after then senior goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff broke her leg in a game against Penn.

Sophomore Morgan Basileo started in place of Nash on Thursday and played in her first college game. Junior defender Kat McCoy also made her first start of the season against Rider University.

After surrendering a goal just nine minutes into the game, the Owls rallied to beat the Broncs 3-1 on Thursday at the Temple Sports Complex. The win ended Temple’s three-game losing streak and improves the team’s record to 2-3.

“In the first few minutes it just took me some time to get my bearings in the game,” Basileo said. “For the rest of the game everyone just settled down and we were able to get a win.”

“We just tried to shake things up tonight with both our defense and our starting goalie,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “Jordan and Morgan are both starting goalies. Having depth at any possession is a good problem to have.”

The starting defense and goalie weren’t the only firsts for the Owls on Thursday. Freshman midfielder Emma Wilkins scored the first goal of her college career in the 34th minute. She then followed it up with her second goal with just less than four minutes to go in regulation.

“After you score a goal, it definitely gives you confidence to play with for the rest of the game, you just can’t let it go to your head,” Wilkins said. “It just felt great to score tonight and show that I belong playing with all the older girls.”

For Temple redshirt-senior forward Kayla Cunningham and Broncs junior Kourtney Cunningham, Thursday night was the end of an era. The sisters from Whitehall, Pennsylvania played each other for the third and final time in their college careers.

The Owls have a chance to get to their winning percentage to .500 when they play Mount St. Mary’s University at home on Sunday. After his team’s overtime loss to Lehigh University, O’Connor said the Owls are “6 percent” away from being an American Athletic Conference contender.

He isn’t changing his assessment yet.

“We just have to keep the ball rolling and not make any too drastic changes,” O’Connor said. “You can feel it and see it in the locker room, the attitude for this team is there, we just need to refine some things.”

“We were obviously happy to win tonight, but we didn’t play as well as we’re going to need to in the [American Athletic Conference] schedule,” O’Connor added.

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