The Owls had sustained three injuries in the week prior to their Sunday match against Memphis.
Junior defender Paula Jurewicz, out of Holland, Pennsylvania, was knocked down 12 minutes into Sunday’s match, and wouldn’t return. Coach Seamus O’Connor said he is awaiting the injury report to find out the extent of the problem and how it will affect her upcoming play.
Sophomore Morgan Elliot and Senior Alyssa Kirk both went down last Sunday at East Carolina. A senior defender out of nearby Langhorne, Kirk suffered a lower leg injury during that match.
Junior midfielder Gina DiTaranto was taken out of practice last week after a stress injury proved too much to play with. The injury was the result of prolonged close play and continuous contact rather than a sudden incident.
O’Connor said he had a number of concerns about the defensive side that were only exacerbated by Jurewicz’s injury.
“We were struggling with some positions so we had to really change how we played and go back to how we played last year. It’s tough. We’ve been relying on our attack a lot but today then we had to rely on our defenders and put the pressure on them. With the three injuries coming in, 2 of them defensive, and then with Paula getting hurt as well, it killed us,” he explained
The game ended a draw in double overtime. The final ended in a 1-1 deadlock despite a high volume of shots on goal.
Junior goalkeeper Shauni Kirkhoff, who proved indispensable against Memphis with a number of important saves, believes the midfield and backfield have felt the brunt of the injuries.
“But we’ve been able to cope because we’ve got a good bench and they’re on their way to getting back in the game,” she said.
Kirkhoff sees the team stepping up to fill the void left by the players hurt.
“Kelly Moran has been doing a great job in the back for us and Taylor Matsinger [Sunday],” Kerkhoff said. “She did a fantastic job and she’s never been in the back before. So it was really good to see her there and I think those two players did a fantastic job.”
The team leaves for Texas on Wednesday. It will take on Southern Methodist in Dallas on Thursday and the University of Houston in Houston on Sunday.
“I think a lot of pressure comes on to Erica, our trainer, now,” O’Connor said “We rested a lot of players to see if we could get them back for our trip to Texas. Right now, we’re hoping to see the injury report tomorrow. If the injury report goes our way, great. If not, we’re just going to have to play like this again.”
The team’s record now stands at 9-1-3 with 6 games left in the regular season. The first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament begins on Halloween.
Coach O’Connor is confident that key players will make their return in time for postseason play.
“They’ll definitely be back for post season,” he said. “Besides Paige, who is out with an ACL, they’re all short term injuries we can hopefully get over.”