The Owls came into Sunday’s game against Drexel aiming to continue their unprecedented winning streak.
Coming off the heels of a 3-2 win against Rider, their fourth straight win to open the season, the team approached the match against Drexel with a sense of urgency.
A goal off a set piece with 23:41 remaining in the first half by junior midfielder Shannon Senour helped to set the aggressive style of play noticeable throughout the rest of the game.
Senior defenseman Alyssa Kirk landed a goal off a corner kick nearly seven minutes before halftime, but Drexel returned in similar fashion with a goal of its own moments later.
In the second half, the Owls continued their full-bore effort in a fashion that speaks volumes of their recent success. Shannon Senour tacked on her 2nd goal of the game and the team’s 3rd 13 minutes into the second half.
However, it wasn’t just the offense that kept Drexel on their heels. Junior goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff out of Westerville, Ohio had a couple of impressive diving blocks that dampened the opponent’s chances of tying up the match.
Kerkhoff had her job supplanted by a number of missed shots, including a handful of shots deflected off the crossbar. Temple’s defensemen limited the amount of Drexel shots on goal.
When the last second finally ticked away, the Owls had extended their win streak to 5, with a final score of 3-2 on Drexel’s home field. Regardless, head coach Seamus O’Connor seemed to have concerns with the teams’ style of play and the tactics they employed.
“We’re not used to being ahead, like that’s a new phenomenon for us and we don’t know how to manage that right now. We’re getting there but we’re just not used to being ahead and I think that’s something we gotta get comfortable with: being ahead and managing the game.”
Temple is heading to Ithaca, NY this coming weekend for the Cornell University tournament, taking on St. Bonaventure on Friday and Cornell Sunday. Coach O’Connor’s is looking forward to breaking down game footage with the team during the week in preparation for the matches.
“We’re going to be away for the entire weekend so I get to spend time in the hotel working on the tactics and working on the video.”, O’Connor’s said. “Just to show them the rotations. Because the way we play, we really rely defensively on movement, everyone has to shift. We don’t man-mark, everybody shifts and keeps moving, moving, moving. That was something we just have to get better at. Like I said, their [Drexel] formation was unusual because not many people play that 3-1-4-2.”
The Owls will take this win and O’Connor’s thoughts for improvement with them to their next match. Captain Alyssa Kirk is confident the team’s on-field chemistry has a say in their success.
”We have so much chemistry on the field. We know where each other are. We are very good at communicating. We have leaders all over the field. Our team is well connected, and being 5-0, we’ve become even more connected and more comfortable with each other, and just getting closer and closer the more wins we get.”
Colton Shaw can be reached at email@example.com