With three games left, No. 16 Temple knew its matchup against Georgetown would factor into its postseason hopes.
The Owls (12-5, 3-1 Big East Conference) came out firing in a 4-1 defeat of its Big East foe (5-10, 0-4 conference), outshooting the Hoyas 18-0 in the first half, and 27-2 for the game.
“We had a really strong first half,” assistant coach Kelly Driscoll said. “Our team did a great job where we were able to come out with one goal in the first half and then keep the pressure on in the second half.
“[Georgetown’s field turf] was a little different from what we were used to,” Driscoll added. “But our team did a really great job just responding and playing as a unit together.”
Senior forward Amber Youtz recorded her fourth hat trick of the season, and the eighth of her career Friday. The performance put her at 24 goals for the season, setting a new career-high from the 22 she scored in 2012.
Youtz scored the lone goal of the first half in the 24th minute, after taking the assist from junior midfielder Sarah Deck, who gained control of the ball after a deflection.
Youtz, who currently leads the nation in goals per game, had 15 shots of her own, with 10 of them landing on goal.
But it wasn’t until the second half when a couple more of those shots found their way to the back of the cage.
Youtz came up with back-to-back goals within four minutes of each other, first off a shot from the center of the circle in the 54th minute, then off a corner play in the 58th with the assist coming from senior midfielder and co-captain Nicole Kroener.
The 2013 All-American tallied 13 goals in the last five games. She hasn’t gone a game without scoring since Oct. 5, when the Owls lost 2-0 at home to Penn State, and hasn’t gone consecutive games without a goal since early September.
She is two goals away from tying Monica Mills’ (1981-84) 68 goals for third all-time in program history.
“Amber knows what is at stake,” Driscoll said. “She understands how much potential the team has, and she has really pushed her game to the next level to lead our team.”
In the 59th minute, Youtz gained an assist when her former high school teammate at Central Dauphin, and current sophomore forward, Katie Foran redirected her shot past Georgetown sophomore goalie Rachel Skonecki. Foran’s goal was her fifth of the season.
Temple now has two games remaining in the regular season. The Owls will return home to face Lafayette (5-9) Sunday at 1 p.m., then will face No. 5 UConn (11-2, 3-0 conference) next Saturday.
Even though a key conference game lies ahead in the regular season finale, and with postseason play looming, the Owls are still on a game by game mentality.
“I think that’s the time where you really have to come together,” Youtz said. “We’re realizing the importance of each and every game, taking each game pretty much as seriously as possible, and I think that is what is helping us. Just taking it one step by one step until we make it to where we want to be.”
Nick Tricome can be reached at nick.tricome@temple .edu or on Twitter@itssnick215.