The Temple Owls were defeated by the No. 24 Central Florida Knights 4-1 on Sunday afternoon in Orlando, Fla.
“They were prepared to try and upset these guys,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “The girls, right now, are exhausted. They gave everything they could today. I can see why [UCF is] nationally ranked. Easily the best team we played all year.”
For Temple (6-6-1, 1-3) Sunday’s loss is its third consecutive conference loss and the first time the Owls have allowed four goals in a single game since 2011. UCF (10-2-1, 3-0), breaking into the national rankings this week, extends its unbeaten streak to nine games.
Freshman midfielder Jillian Diblasi netted the Owls lone goal of the day. Tying a season-high, sophomore goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff recorded eight saves in her sixth loss of the season.
For UCF, freshman midfielder Kayla Adamek, freshman midfielder Karoline Heinze, senior midfielder Katy Ling and junior forward Tatiana Coleman scored one goal each. Senior goalkeeper Lianne Maldonado recorded two saves.
“They were exceptional,” O’Connor said. “Their forward line was the best we’ve seen this year. Take one option away, you leave another. They were just relentless.”
The Knights attacked early and often, scoring three of their four goals in the first period. 13 minutes into the first half, Adamek headed a cross for the first score of the game, giving UCF a 1-0 lead. Heinze the took a pass in the 30th minute and found the back of the net and Ling netted her own seven minutes later.
In the 38th minute, shortly after the third consecutive UCF goal, DiBlasi answered with her first career goal. UCF held a 3-1 lead at halftime.
In the second period, the Knights put the game further out of reach with a 55th minute goal by Coleman, giving UCF a 4-1 lead which would hold through the final minutes.
The Knights held a commanding advantage in shots and shots on goal against the Owls, outshooting the Temple 25-5 and 12-3 respectively.
“We’re still young,” O’Connor said. “We’re just a young group. They’re learning. They don’t dwell on this. We just want to get better everyday.”
Brien Edwards can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @BErick1123.