As the sky darkened Friday night in Providence, Rhode Island, so did the field hockey team’s 2015 season.
The Owls fell to Providence College 1-0 in a shootout, marking their seventh-straight loss, five of those by a one-goal margin—including three in overtime. The team dropped to 0-2 in the Big East Conference.
“Though we gave up 16 corners, we played well and aggressively, not allowing a goal in those down number situations,” coach Marybeth Freeman said. “Unfortunately, when you play that well defensively, you are looking for more return on the attacking end, and we weren’t strong or purposeful enough in our attacking circle to get the job done.”
Much of Temple’s recent lack of success can be attributed to an offensive attack that has only scored three goals in the team’s past four games. The Owls (3-12, 0-2 Big East) followed Friday’s loss with a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Drexel Sunday, and are averaging 2.27 goals per game this season.
“The past hasn’t been great, this is what matters now,” sophomore midfielder Maiyah Brown said. “These are our conference games. Our forwards putting those goals in the cage is going to be a really crucial thing for us.”
Even with the recent offensive drought, the Owls rank third among Big East Conference teams with 34 goals scored. But the squad is now the only conference team without a win and is sitting in last place.
Along with the offense, Freeman said the Owls have been dealing with issues on the defensive half of the field, specifically allowing too many opportunities. The Owls have allowed 160 shots on goal this season compared to 142 shots in 21 games last season.
“I think that, not only on our attacking end, but also our defensive end,” Freeman said. “We are letting in too many goals, and we are allowing too many shots uncontested.”
The defensive issues Freeman mentioned were on full display in Friday’s game against Providence. The Friars outshot Temple 16-9, and the Owls had four penalty corners compared to Providence’s 16.
“I think we can just improve on what we’re doing,” junior backer Ali Meszaros said. “I think we can start working together more and communicating more. … Just communication on the field and communication off the field is going to be important for the next upcoming games that we have.”
In 2014, opponents shut out Temple four times in 21 games. Through 15 games this season, the Owls have failed to score in a game four times.
Despite the offensive struggles, Brown said she believes the Owls can still accomplish their preseason goals.
The Owls currently sit 2.5 games behind first-place Connecticut in the Big East Standings.
“Our goal has been to win the Big East championship and make the NCAA tournament,” Brown said. “I do believe we can do that this year.”
Matt Cockayne can be reached at email@example.com.