History didn’t repeat itself this time.
After the Temple came up with anupset on the road against a No. 6 ranked Penn State team last September, the now No. 9 Nittany Lions made up for it on Sunday, blanking the No. 15 Owls, 2-0, at Geasey Field.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t win, because of last year feeling so good to finally beat them after 30 years,” junior forward/midfielder Alyssa Delp said. “But what the coaches said to us is this game is going to make us better for when we play our conference games against [Old Dominion] and [the University of Connecticut]. The games that truly matter for us to get to that Big East Championship, which last year we didn’t make, so we’re really itching to get there. This game will help.”
Coming off a 4-3 overtime win against Providence College on Friday night, a game that saw the Temple rally back from a 3-0 deficit, the Owls found themselves in another comeback scenario.
With less than five minutes left in the first half, and on Penn State’s eighth penalty corner of the game to that point, senior forward/midfielder Taylor Herold scored on the direct corner for her team-leading 12th goal of the season.
Although Temple was able to move the ball into the offensive zone and generate chances at points throughout the first, the scale tipped in Penn State’s favor, with the Nittany Lions outshooting the Owls 16-3 in the opening period, and gaining an 8-0 advantage in penalty corners by halftime.
When the final horn sounded, Penn State had an 11-1 advantage in corners for the day, with a 23-8 edge in shots (14-3 in shots on goal).
“Corner execution was the biggest difference in the game,” coach Amanda Janney said. “They drew a lot of corners and we drew one, and we didn’t execute. That is a big difference late in the season, and we have to be able draw more corners and execute.”
The Owls’ lone corner opportunity came with less than seven minutes left in regulation, with the team still trailing by one. Junior midfielder Sarah Deck took a direct shot on the pass in, but the ball flew just wide of the left post.
The attempt added to an offensive drive that followed after Janney called a timeout in the 54th minute. Coming out of the break, Junior forward/midfielder Erin VanHorn tried to set up a one-timer from the left corner, but no one was there for the pass.
Then senior forward Amber Youtz followed up with a couple of shots. One of them looked like it went in, as some players put their arms up after the shot. Penn State redshirt senior goalkeeper Kylie Licata, however, came up with the save.
In the just over two minutes that followed the corner shot from Deck, Penn State went back up the other way, and senior forward/midfielder Laura Gebhart scored on an unassisted goal.
“After the timeout they really responded,” Janney said of her team. “We had a lot of good attack. We had two that I thought went in the cage. I think the team, they have amazing character and just great heart. They’re going to fight until the end, and even at the end, we were trying to still score two down.”
“Even though there was less than a minute they were doing their best to try and create some attack,” Janney added. “There is no question that this week was a good lesson moving on, to deal with going down a goal and how we respond. I think we hit a little lull in the first half, but the team thought hard in the second half. I thought we were much better in the second half.”
Temple (8-4, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) will resume Big East play at home against Villanova (3-7) on Friday at 3 p.m.
Redshirt senior goalkeeper Lizzy Millen came up with another strong performance in the cage, making 12 saves and helping the defense to stop 10 of Penn State’s 11 corners.
“She is an amazing leader back there,” junior midfielder and co-captain Rachel Steinman said. “It’s her fifth year, so she is going to go all out, and she’s going to play her hardest. This is her last year, and half of our season is over. She knows it’s coming to an end, she just wants to play her heart out every single game.”
Nick Tricome can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @itssnick215.