The Owls brought their preseason to a close with a scrimmage against former Atlantic-10 rival St. Joseph’s University on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Although it was only a scrimmage, the atmosphere at Geasey Field was highly competitive. Temple won by a final of 5-1, but continued to fight for scoring opportunities, even when they had a comfortable lead in the final moments.
“We really came in with the mindset today that we really wanted to make this game as competitive as we could, senior midfielder/defender Molly Doyle said. “We know that we have a really big competition next weekend with Ohio State and then possibly Maryland after that, so we knew that we really needed to play our best today and get in game mode for those big teams coming up. “
“We didn’t want to play laxed” Doyle added. “We really wanted to step up and make a statement.”
There was a lot that went well for the Owls on Saturday, but one standout in particular was the team’s defensive performance.
The Owls were quick to cause turnovers and get the ball rolling the other way, keeping St. Joe’s from getting too many chances to establish an offensive attack.
Temple also did well with stopping St. Joe’s on penalty corners, as each attempt the Hawks received was either blocked or disrupted before they could get a shot off.
“We spend a lot of time doing defensive corners and I think we have a really strong anchor with [redshirt junior Lizzy Millen] as our goalie,” Doyle said. “We all play around her and I think we do look really strong. Everyone was in a good position today and we were able to make good step ups and good tackles.”
And when things go right in a situation like Saturday’s, confidence grows.
“We can have a lot of confidence and strength in our corner defensive penalty unit,” head coach Amanda Janney said. “We know we have an amazing goalie in Lizzy and [junior Haley Mitchell]. Just to have the confidence knowing every time we go back there for a deep corner, that it is one of our strengths, is a positive for our team.”
On offense, freshman midfielder/forward Sarah Keer contributed with a pair of goals in her first real taste of playing against another college team.
“It’s a hard adjustment for high school to college, but I feel like I’ve been making the adjustment pretty well,” Keer said. “I’m just trying to go with the flow and get up with the speed of the game, because high school is a lot slower and I played on a grass field. The astro turf is a lot different. It’s a lot nicer, so I can pull some more moves and playing with people around me that are good makes me a better player.”
Junior forward Amber Youtz, who led the Owls in goals last season with 22, also made an impact on offense, scoring in the second half and in a 15-minute overtime period that was added to the end of the scrimmage.
Both teams also participated in a shootout after the clock ran down, similar to what Temple did for the Cherry and White Scrimmage the day before.
The scrimmage against St. Joe’s was the Owls’ last before the start of the regular season, which begins next Saturday against Ohio State.
After the team reconvened and spent the latter half of August preparing for the 2013 campaign, they are now ready to get the season underway.
“We are primed and ready to go for opening weekend,” Janney said. “We are as ready as we can be.”
Nick Tricome can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @itssnick215.