Owls headed to Big East tourney after win

The team begins conference semifinals play against Villanova.

Senior forward/midfielder Alyssa Delp (right), defends during the Owls’ 3-2 overtime victory Saturday against Villanova. | Evan Easterling TTN
Forward Sarah Keer defends during the Owls' 3-2 overtime win against Villanova on Oct. 31, 2015. Keer scored the Owls' lone goal on Saturday against Kent State University in their shutout win. EVAN EASTERLING | TTN FILE PHOTO

The Owls want another chance to play undefeated Connecticut—the No. 2 team in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association coaches poll.

After the squad defeated Villanova 3-2 in overtime Saturday, Temple secured the No. 2 seed in the Big East Conference tournament and will play the No. 3 seed, Villanova Nov. 6 for the chance to face the winner of top-seeded Connecticut against No. 4 Old Dominion.

“We want another shot against UConn really badly,” junior forward Katie Foran said. “I think everyone is excited to get a chance to play them again and prove what kind of team we are.”

During the Owls’ 8-0 loss to the Huskies Oct. 9, they were outshot 30-4, a performance coach Marybeth Freeman called “careless.”

“I think looking at that first time we played them we definitely lost focus, and we kind of reverted back to some old bad habits to be honest,” Freeman said. “We became very individual that game, and since then we’ve realized that when you do play as a team you can be successful, like our last three games. So I would love another shot at UConn.”

In the team’s ovetime victory Saturday against Villanova, the squad’s fourth consecutive win, the Wildcats outshot Temple 13-9 and had 17 penalty corners.

“We have to play quality defense all over the ball, and it starts with how we press,” Freeman said. “We also need to transition quickly out the back, so we can build through the midfield to get offensive opportunities in our front half.”

In their last four wins, the Owls offense totaled 11 goals on 55 shots, an average of 2.75 goals per game and 13.75 shots per game. That mark is better than the one goal per game and 11.8 shots per game the team was averaging in its first five losses in October.

With a 10-player senior class, the Owls have more seniors on their team than all other Big East Conference squads, and Foran said the team’s experience from the 2014 Big East tournament will aid them this season.

“When you’ve been in that position before I think that you’re more comfortable in it,” Foran said. “As a freshman I was a lot more nervous, but as the years go on you get more comfortable, more confident and know that you should be there. You just don’t really doubt yourself.”

Matthew Cockayne can be reached at matthew.cockayne@temple.edu.

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