After opening the season 3-0-1 to get off to its best start since 1992, the women’s soccer team has now dropped two straight following a 1-0 shutout loss against Villanova on Sunday.
Despite being out shot 10-1, the Owls went into halftime tied 0-0, thanks in part to their defense and goalkeeping. At that point, coach David Jones felt confident that the Owls could upset No. 25 Villanova.
“At halftime we knew we had fought real hard in the first half,” Jones said. “We knew we were in for a defensive battle. The score was 0-0, and we were right where we wanted to be. We definitely felt we had frustrated them. Our objective was to take the game as late as we could 0-0 and then hopefully try and score a goal.”
Unfortunately for Temple, the Wildcats came out of the break with the same objective in mind, scoring a goal at 53:28 to put them ahead 1-0. Forward Nicole Coia scored the only goal of the game and her first of the season after midfielder Erin Hardiman passed her the ball from the left side of the field.
The Wildcats are 90-0-5 since 1999 when scoring the game’s first goal. That statistic held true as Temple managed only two shots on goal the remainder of the game, none of which entered the net. The Owls haven’t scored in either of their last two games after starting the first four games of the season with a 13-goal outburst.
The end result aside, the Owls managed to go toe-to-toe with one of the premier teams in the nation, a fact not lost on Jones.
“I’m proud of our team,” Jones said. “We worked hard and set down a pretty good team that scores a lot of goals. Hopefully, with our youth we can learn from this game. Next time we can try to defend a little better and get some more scoring opportunities.”
“This was a good learning experience because we’re probably going to end up playing another three or four teams in conference that are comparable to Villanova.”
In the immediate future, Jones said Temple needs to bounce back after a tough weekend.
The Owls face Saint Peter’s Friday, followed by a Sunday game against Monmouth. Atlantic Ten Conference play begins Sept. 28 against Dayton. That match-up is followed by games against Rhode Island, Saint Louis and Charlotte, all of which were conference contenders last year.
Junior defender Cori Gallagher said Sunday’s game was great preparation for those games.
“The experience is huge,” Gallagher said. “Villanova is a Top 20 team in the country and they play in one of the best conferences, the Big East. This game shows that we can play with a top-notch team like them. Going into A-10’s, this is just going to give us a lot of confidence and show us that although we lost, we can still battle for 90 minutes with anyone.”
Jennifer Reardon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.