Two days after making a comeback in the semifinal against Old Dominion, the Owls couldn’t put together one more in the Big East Championship game against top-seeded and No. 3-ranked Connecticut.
No. 16 Temple finished as the conference runner-up, while UConn captured its third Big East title in as many years with a 4-1 win.
“The team really stepped up today,” coach Amanda Janney said. “They played an outstanding game and it’s frustrating from the scoreboard. But they really played hard, they put it all out there.”
“We had some good chances,” Janney added. “We missed our opportunities.”
The Owls would have earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a victory on Sunday afternoon, but still have a chance at an at-large bid. Temple, who entered the Big East Tournament in the 14th spot of the NCAA’s RPI rankings, will find out if it has a spot in the tournament tonight when the NCAA’s Selection Show airs on its website tonight at 10 p.m.
The Huskies gained a 3-0 lead by halftime, with freshman forward/midfielder Casey Umstead and junior midfielder McKenzie Townsend collecting goals on two of the three penalty corners they converted on in the opening period.
The Owls had two penalty corners of their own in the first half, and two penalty strokes to go along with them – the first awarded to senior forward Amber Youtz within the first five minutes and the second to senior midfielder Nicole Kroener with less than 10 minutes left until the end of the first.
UConn’s redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Nina Klein made the save on both strokes, however, and both corner attempts were blocked. The Huskies went back up the field following Kroener’s penalty stroke, and freshman forward Charlotte Veitner scored to make it a 2-0 game 27 minutes in.
Sophomore forward Katie Foran put Temple on the board with just more than five minutes into the second half, slipping a direct shot by Klein to give the Owls some momentum, but UConn surrendered only one more corner chance after that, one that Temple couldn’t get a shot on.
UConn’s sophomore forward/midfielder Darby Smith scored with less than 10 minutes left to make it 4-1 and out of reach at that point.
“I still felt like the whole entire game, it was just us,” Youtz said. “Our whole entire team was just giving it all we had. They scored on corners and those little breakdowns.”
“It wasn’t like they were beating us in the field play,” Youtz added. “But corners can win games.”
Foran, Youtz, Kroener and redshirt senior goalkeeper Lizzy Millen, who made six saves Sunday, were named to the Big East All-Tournament team following the game.
Nick Tricome can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @itssnick215.