Owls beat conference foe Billikens

Temple remains perfect in conference play.

In front of an excited crowd at Geasey Field today, the field hockey team did not disappoint. The Owls improved to 4-0 in Atlantic 10 Conference play today with a 5-1 win over Saint Louis.

 “We knew that this was a big weekend for us, and to just come in to Sunday’s game with a lot of confidence by beating Saint Louis was big,” sophomore midfielder Katie Briglia said.

 Temple didn’t hesitate early to expose the Billikens’ weaknesses, with two goals in the first half.

 Sophomore forward Amber Youtz jump-started the Temple offense in the fifth minute, with an unassisted goal on a breakaway.

 The Owls then saw production midway through the first period with a goal off a penalty corner from sophomore midfielder Nicole Kroener. It is Kroener’s seventh goal of the season.

 In the middle of the first half, coach Amanda Janney elected to put sophomore goalkeeper Haley Mitchell in for redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Lizzy Millen.

 “[Mitchell] works so hard in practice time and [Mitchell] hasn’t gotten the opportunity to play in games because [Millen] is just an outstanding goalie and [Millen] has just been doing great for us,” Janney said.

 With a new goalie in the game, the Billikens were able to capitalize by scoring their lone goal of the game off a penalty corner.

 Senior midfielder Lexie Lindblad was able to tap in her fifth goal of the season, and put Saint Louis on the board.

 Mitchell said that nerves played into the goal scored by Lindblad.

 “My biggest fear is making a really stupid mistake and I think that always gets the best of me,” Mitchell said. “I feel like I can stop that high left chip shot, then it’s the stupid balls that get in there.”

 Beyond Lindblad’s goal, Mitchell was able to stop the Saint Louis offense from any more production. Mitchell finished the game with three saves.

 Along with Mitchell, numerous other young players were able to gain valuable experience.

 Freshman midfielder Tricia Light scored her first collegiate goal, and other freshmen such as forward Erin VanHorn and midfielder Amanda Fuertsch played critical minutes.

 “It’s gets them a lot of experience that in other games, like against Richmond isn’t the time to gain experience,” Briglia said. “In games like today, where you could afford to make mistakes, it’s huge to give them the experience and the playing time.”

 In the second half the Owls were able to put the game away with three goals.

 Youtz had her second goal of the game on an assist from the left side of the goal from junior forward Lauren Hunt. The score gave Youtz 20 goals and 10 assists on the season.

 Light then scored a goal off an assist by Youtz.

 Briglia finished the offensive barrage with her fifth goal of the season coming on a drag flick inside the circle.

 Adding to a boost by the freshmen on the team, Janney said that many injuries are starting to heal and that the team is getting back to full strength.

 Sophomore forward Hannah Whitman has been out most of the season battling a foot injury and Youtz broke her nose last weekend.

 “We’re kind of back to full strength, [Youtz] has been out, [junior defender Molly Doyle] has been injured a little bit, [Whitman] has been out, and now we finally have almost all of our players healthy now,” Janney said.

 Temple’s second game of the weekend will be against No. 17 Richmond. The Spiders are 11-4 overall and undefeated in A-10 conference play.

 The Owls will be traveling to Richmond, where the Spiders have yet to lose a game.

 Janney said that Sunday won’t be quite as easy as their win today, and pressure will be a key.

 “We need to pressure [Richmond] hard and play some good defense,” Janney said. “I think we’re giving up goals we shouldn’t be giving up, and we need to make sure we try to keep Richmond off the boards as much as possible.”

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