Owls crush Mountain Hawks in home opener

For the first time since 2015, Temple University field hockey scored six goals in a victory over Lehigh University on Sunday afternoon at the Temple Sports Complex.

Annie Judge, a graduate student midfielder back, passes the ball up the field as the Owls faced off against West Chester University on Aug. 20, 2021. | AMBER RITSON / THE TEMPLE NEWS

After a dominant defensive win on Friday against Lafayette University, the Owls steamrolled Lehigh University (0-2, 0-0 Patriot League) offensively on Sunday afternoon by outshooting the Mountain Hawks 15-6.

The Owls (2-0, 0-0 Big East Conference) put on an offensive clinic winning 6-0, with each of their six goals coming from a different scorer. It was Temple’s first game with five or more goals since 2015, when they defeated Towson University 9-0.  

From the start, the Owls pushed the ball into the attacking third, applying immediate offensive pressure on the Mountain Hawks. Sophomore midfielder Julianne Kopec was the first to score for the Owls with a backhanded shot off a deflection just over five minutes into the first quarter.

Temple would pick up right where they left off in the second quarter and go on to score two goals. The first goal of the quarter came from senior forward Tali Popinko off a backhanded sweep shot. The second goal would come off the Owls second corner attempt of the game on a pass from senior defender Nienke Oerlemans to junior midfielder Olivia Vaccari.

The offense would not go stale for Temple in the third quarter, as junior midfielder Myrthe Schuilenburg was able to score just 32 seconds into the quarter off a pass from sophomore midfielder Devin Kinzel.

Lehigh was able to create a few scoring chances, their best opportunity came during their first corner of the game when senior midfielder Sarah Bonthuis took a shot from the arch, but it went wide of the net. 

The Owls would continue to dominate both offensively and defensively into the fourth by keeping the Mountain Hawks to the outside and not allowing shots. Lehigh only took six shots the entire game, with just two getting on net.

Senior midfielder McKenna Burkhardt and sophomore midfielder Tess Muller scored the final two goals of the game, both coming off two of Temple’s five fourth quarter corner opportunities.

The Owls have scored four of their seven goals on corner attempts this season and in Sunday’s games against Lehigh, the Owls converted on three of their nine corners.

“33 percent is kind of the sweet spot in terms of corner conversion rate that you want to be at,” said head coach Michelle Vittese. “It’s what you look for, and I think being able to do that puts you in a position to win.”

The Owls will face off against the University of Virginia (1-1, 0-0 Atlantic Coastal Conference) on Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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