In their second consecutive overtime game, at home against Memphis, things couldn’t have started out much worse for the injury-laden Owls.
After a quick score by the Tigers, junior Paula Jurewicz went down with a lower leg injury. Already down three players, the injury to Jurewicz left the Owls down by one with numerous young and inexperienced players having to play big minutes.
The Owls were not discouraged, though. Almost immediately after the injury, junior Kelly Farrell headed the ball in off a long cross from Taylor Trusky to tie the game at 1-1. This is where the score would stay for the rest of play, as the game ended in a 1-1 draw in overtime.
The goal was Farrell’s seventh of the season and her third in the last four games.
“When my players are playing good, that’s rubbing off to me and I want to score,” Farrell said of her current hot streak. “I want to win for them. … Also I think it has a lot to do with my teammates. They’ve set me up for almost every one of my goals. So they have more credit than I do.”
After Farrell’s goal, the Owls let a few chances slip by later on in the first half.
Sophomore Kayla Cunningham, who scored the game winning goal in overtime on Thursday, hit a free kick off the cross bar. Junior Kaylee Harner also got off a nice free kick that missed the net by just a few feet.
In the second half, however, the chances became much slimmer as the Memphis attack had the Owls on their heels for most of the period. The Tigers outshot Temple, 6-1, during this time, but Temple’s defense held strong and did not concede a goal.
Goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff helped with that. Kerkhoff, a junior, had five saves in the game including a stop on a Tigers’ penalty kick.
Coach Seamus O’Connor said the style of the Memphis team is what led to a more defensive mindset from the Owls.
“Memphis’s strength is one [against] one out wide and having space so what we did was make the field really small and take away the space,” O’Connor said.
He added that the injuries to forward Gina DiTaranto and defenders Alyssa Kirk and Morgan Elliot, along with the loss of Jurewicz also contributed to his team sitting back more than usual.
“It’s hard with the amount of injuries we had,” O’Connor said. “We didn’t have much depth to come off the bench. They’re carrying a big roster … We just didn’t want to make it into a track meet.”
After 90 minutes of defensive play, Temple looked to strike in the overtime period. Less than a minute into the first overtime period Farrell had a clean look miss just wide.
O’Connor said the Owls tried to take Memphis by surprise in OT.
“Because we had sat back for so long we kind of had their defenders feeling like they had time on the ball, so that’s why we were able to jump them in overtime,” O’Connor said.
A big key to the team’s ability to pull out a point in the game was the play of some young players who had not seen a lot of minutes earlier in the season.
Sophomore Meghan Sullivan and freshmen Victoria Rutille, Elana Falcone and Gabriella McKeown all played their most minutes of the season.
Farrell believes O’Connor’s use of the substitutes was important in a double-overtime game.
“Playing 110 minutes it definitely has an impact,” Farrell said. “[O’Connor] did a great job putting in subs and we always had fresh legs. You could tell once he subbed it was a whole different ball game.”
The Owls now sit at 9-3-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the conference. They will take a trip to Texas next week where they will play Southern Methodist on Thursday and Houston on Sunday.
Owen McCue can be reached at email@example.com.