Temple’s improved offensive attack took a step back Thursday as the Owls (8-3, 0-1) fell to Central Florida 1-0 in Orlando, Florida.
The game’s decisive play came three minutes before halftime, when Temple’s defense failed to clear a ball in the box and Central Florida’s Kayla Adamek capitalized with a one-touch strike from roughly 20 yards out.
“It’s frustrating that the girls had 42 minutes of a perfect performance and then we just made one mistake three minutes before halftime and the girl had a beautiful shot,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “I think 22 yards out she buried it in the bottom corner and that’s just the difference when you play a team like Central Florida.”
O’Connor took a more defensive approach in the team’s first American Athletic Conference match of the season, intentionally allowing the Knights to keep possession of the ball for long periods of time in hopes of wearing them out, and then turning up the heat in the second half.
Temple’s efforts to get leading scorer Kelly Farrell as many opportunities as possible did not produce results as the senior striker ended up goalless for only the second time this season. Farrell had no shot attempts for the first time since the Owls’ 3-0 loss to Connecticut Oct. 26, 2014.
“We were trying to isolate her and create one-on-ones, and we had a couple good chances that we tried to get her in behind, but we just weren’t able to,” O’Connor said of Farrell.
The Owls’ only shot on goal of the match came in the 63rd minute on a set play initiated by senior defender Erin Lafferty, the team’s second-leading goal scorer.
“Our best chances came off set plays,” O’Connor said. “Erin put a couple of great set plays right in there. We just weren’t in the right position on the second ball to win the second ball and put it into the net but … we had it … we had it right there, it was on the door, it was right there but we just could not put in.”
Freshman goalkeeper Jordan Nash faced a career-high 19 shots, saving six of them. Nash has accumulated at least six saves in each of her last three starts.
Fellow freshman Sarah McGlinn, who had scored three goals in her last four games, played 10 minutes in the second half before exiting the game with an ankle injury. O’Connor is waiting to hear from graduate athletic trainer Erika Johnson about the severity of McGlinn’s injury.
“She was playing up top with Kelly and she was doing really, really well and then she got a kick on her ankle and she came out and wasn’t able to go back in again, which was frustrating because this was the kind of game that suited her because she’s very physical,” O’Connor said of McGlinn.
Tom Reifsnyder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Tom_Reifsnyder.