After dropping two straight crucial American Athletic Conference games, the Owls knew it would be an uphill battle to put themselves back in position for a postseason tournament bid.
Temple University women’s soccer (4-5-3, 1-3 The American) defeated Long Island University (2-7-2, 2-3-1, The Northeast Conference) 2-1 on Tuesday afternoon in Brookville, New York.
The Owls came out of the gate slowly, as they were held scoreless on only five shots throughout the first half.
Temple finally broke the scoreless tie in the 74th minute when junior forward Hailey Gutowski took a shot from inside the penalty box that got by Sharks’ junior goalkeeper Kayla Detreux in the bottom right corner of the net. It was Gutowski’s third goal of the season.
The Owls struck again just eight minutes later when freshman forward Sumaya Togba scored her first NCAA goal on an assist from junior forward Emily Kavanaugh that went right above Detreux, despite her jumping attempt.
“It was a great game for [Togba],” said Owls’ head coach Nick Bochette. “She was lively, she was making good runs and she did thousands of good things before scoring that goal. And what a good goal it was.”
The Sharks got on the board in the 85th minute when sophomore forward Sami Jablonski scored on a shot that got by Owls’ freshman goalkeeper Kyla Burns in the center of the net.
It was Burns’ second career NCAA start, and she has only allowed one goal during 200 minutes of collegiate action this season.
“We are really happy with the goalkeeper position and the depth we have,” Bochette said. “[Burns] made a couple big saves today to showcase why that is and she would be a starter in many other programs.”
The Owls still have a path to their first AAC tournament bid since the 2018-19 season if they record wins against two or three of their opponents down the stretch. However, they will be tested in their final four games of the season.
“We know the quality needed to win conference games,” Bochette said. “Winning helps us get our mojo back to a certain degree, and I think it was good to get one but there is still work to be done.”
The Owls will return to conference play with an important matchup against the University of Houston (10-3-2, 2-1-1, The American) at the Temple Sports Complex on Oct. 17 at 12 p.m.