Making their first Atlantic Ten Championship appearance in three years, Temple’s season ended this past weekend with a 3-1 loss to No.12 Richmond at Finnesey Field at Saint Joseph’s.
The decisive point of the game came when the Spiders struck first, scoring the first goal of the game and leaving the Owls (11-11, 4-2) to play catch-up against an overpowering offense. Combined with the pressure of a championship game against a ranked team, the Owls couldn’t pull out the win.
The Spiders scored in the 17th minute off a penalty shot. Three minutes later, Owls sophomore forward Rachel Barber answered back, but Richmond would score one more goal before intermission.
The Owls found themselves frantically trying to hold off the Richmond attack most of the game. The Spiders took 21 shots while the Owls managed just two.
A late Richmond goal in the second half sealed the Owls’ fate.
“Richmond dominated,” senior co-captain Haley Dervinus said. “They deserved to win.”
“We were playing scared,” midfielder Katie Stevenson said. “They were on and we weren’t.”
Having already lost to the Spiders in overtime earlier this season, Dervinus and the Owls used revenge as motivation for the match.
“There was a lot on the line,” Stevenson said. “Richmond is nationally ranked with talented players. It takes a lot to beat that.”
The Owls did manage to avenge a loss to Saint Joseph’s by beating them in the semifinals, 3-1 on Friday. The Hawks defeated the Owls a week earlier at Geasey Field, leaving a bitter taste in the mouth of senior co-captain Melissa DeCesaris.
“They beat us on Senior Day, at home, in our last game of the regular season,” DeCesaris said. “I was disappointed . . . but I would have rather lost that game and won this game. This game was so much more important to us.”
Freshman forward Lindsay Holman started the Owls’ scoring with a goal two minutes into the game. From there the Owls cruised as DeCarsis added two goals to catapult them to victory.
“It was nice to get a quick goal early so that they knew they could score on the goalkeeper,” coach Lauren Fuchs said.
Also announced this past weekend were A-10 conference and tournament awards. Dervinis earned both all-conference and all-tournament honors. Holman and sophomore Talia Ruth were also named to the all-conference team, while DeCesaris and sophomore Dannon Mehaffey made the all-tournament team.
For the season Dervinus notched four goals and 11 assists, bringing her career total to 41, tying her for second on the school’s all-time assist list.
The 11 wins tied a personal best for Fuchs, who has coached the Owls for 13 years.
Seventeen of the Owls’ games were decided by one goal with four of those games going to overtime. The Owls were 8-9 in those games reflecting their tough play in the A-10 tournament.
“This is why you play the tough games, for the championships,” Fuchs said. “Then we’re battle tested. . . we’re used to being in all sorts of situations and that’s what you want to do.”
Though the season did not end in success, Stevenson took pride in knowing her team played as well as they should have and never gave up.
For others, like Dervinus, this was their last season as an Owl and the last time playing competitive field hockey.
“It will be the first time since I was five years old that I’m not in a competitive sport,” she said.
Steve Papurt can be reached at email@example.com.