After four years, Alyssa Kirk played her final home game for the Owls on Sunday afternoon.
Prior to the start of Sunday’s match with Connecticut, Kirk alongside her parents, teammates and coaches was recognized for her contributions to the program.
“It’s just so cool,” Kirk said. “These last four years have been amazing. It hasn’t really hit me yet, but today it started hitting me a little.”
Coach Seamus O’Connor said the path of Kirk’s career at Temple mirrors the growth of the program during that time period.
“Over her four years she’s just been a perfect example of how we’ve grown as a program from where we started to now,” O’Connor said. “It wasn’t so good at the start when she was here.”
Temple could not come out with the win on senior day for the defender out of Neshaminy high school. The team fell to UConn by a score of 3-0 in its final game before postseason play.
The Huskies got out to a very early start against the Owls. UConn midfielder Lindsey Watkins found the back of the net 41 seconds into the contest. Less than six minutes her teammate, forward Rachel Hill, scored to put her team up 2-0.
Despite falling behind early Coach Seamus O’Connor’s team continued to battle, making the 2-0 lead for the Huskies as uncomfortable as they could.
“After [falling behind early] they settled down and played a great game against a very good team,” O’Connor said.
“A lot of teams would have quit going down 2-0 that early, but not these girls,” O’Connor added. “I’m really, really proud of them.”
Temple looked like it was going to get a good opportunity to cut into the lead in the 10th minute when a foul was called very close to the box.
However, the Owls got a free kick just outside the box instead of a penalty kick and Erin Lafferty’s shot was saved by the Huskies’ goalkeeper.
There were several other opportunities for Temple, but as has been the case in their last three conference games, it could not find a way to score.
The Huskies outshot the Owls 11-8, but the key statistic was their advantage in shots on goal, 5-2.
O’Connor said his team can build off their ability to get good looks as they prepare of the postseason.
“I think it’s just, keep looking at the chances we’re creating and keep working on it,” O’Connor said.
Sunday’s loss dropped the Owls to eighth in The American Athletic Conference standings. They will play Southern Methodist on Friday in the eight vs. nine play-in game.
Kirk said confidence will be key in the game as she tries to extend her career with a win against the Mustangs.
“We have to build our confidence, realize the second that whistle blows on Friday night that we are in every single game,” Kirk said. “I’m not scared about anyone we’ve played against. Honestly, the way these conference games have gone I know we can beat anyone we play.”
The Owls lost to SMU 3-0 in the conference tournament last season … After getting shutout three times in its first 15 games, Temple has now failed to score in three of its last four … With the loss on Sunday the Owls are still one win shy of becoming the all-time winningest team in program history.
Owen McCue can be reached at email@example.com.