Even with a season-high six goals from junior midfielder Megan Tiernan, Temple’s season ended Saturday with a 13-12 loss to Georgetown in Washington D.C.
For one of the first times all season, the Owls took a lead early in the game, starting on a 5-0 run that included two goals from Tiernan and one from freshman attacker Nicole Barretta.
“We were planning to come out and take charge of the game today and that is exactly how the game began,” ninth-year head coach Bonnie Rosen said. “It is certainly the most exciting start we have had all season, and it almost carried us through the whole game.”
Georgetown answered with a Natalie Miller goal just under 13 minutes into the half, and 10 minutes later with 7:54 left in the half, the Hoyas notched another tally to make it 5-2. Both teams netted another goal before halftime, including junior attacker Avery Longstaff’s ninth of the season.
Georgetown amped up its play in the beginning of the second half, getting three goals in the first six minutes of the period to tie the game. However, goals by junior midfielders Kirstie Connor and Tiernan put the Owls back up by two with 19:06 remaining.
The Hoyas tied it again after two more goals, but Temple continued the back-and-forth play, going on a 3-0 run in the next three minutes that included Tiernan’s fourth and fifth tallies of the game.
Then, the Owls fell apart. A Caroline Tarzian goal with 8:53 left in regulation started a 5-1 Hoya run that ended the game and Temple’s season.
“I thought we had it,” Rosen said. “I thought we had it with the time left, but again you go back to the draw and a bump here and there, and before we know it the ball is not in our stick anymore. Then, they go down and have nice opportunities. There is a reason Georgetown is sharing the [Big East Conference] championship.”
The story of the game was the draw controls by both sides. In the first period, the Owls secured the same amount of draw controls as the Hoyas and were able to jump out to a lead. The second half however, saw Georgetown get 12 draw controls compared to Temple’s five, a large part of the Hoyas’ 10-5 run in that period.
“[In the second half], they got some looks and started shooting from really far out, and got a few goals on us,” junior captain defender Maddie McTigue said. “We didn’t get the draw as many times in the second half as we did in the first half, so they got more possession time.”
After starting the season 8-1, the Owls closed with a 2-5 Big East record, resulting in a sixth-place conference finish. With 26 of its 30 players returning for 2016, Tiernan said she thinks the squad has a good chance of making the Big East Tournament next year.
“I definitely think we can be better than this season next year,” Tiernan, who finished 2015 with 19 goals, said. “We definitely want to make the Big East Tournament. We didn’t do that this year, so that is what we’re going to look forward to next year. We are going to use this season as fire and motivation to send us through next year.”
Matt Cockayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mattcockayne55.