Temple University women’s soccer (0-1, 0-1 The American Athletic Conference) kicked off its 2021 season with a 3-0 loss against Central Florida at Temple Sports Complex Sunday afternoon.
The Owls fell behind 1-0 early in the match and struggled to mount a consistent offensive attack against Central Florida’s stout defense for the remainder of the contest.
Temple had not taken the field in more than a year, its last game a 1-1 double overtime tie on Oct. 31, 2019 against Connecticut. The AAC announced it had postponed men’s and women’s soccer seasons to the spring on Aug. 25, 2020, The Temple News reported.
“First off I’m thrilled to play a game,” said head coach Nick Bochette. “I’m proud of the girls for what amounted to a 10-month preseason of getting here early and then preparing in August, then to have the fall cancelled, and then come back in January and even our first couple games there were some bumps in the road.”
The Knights walked away with the win Sunday after scoring in the third, 38th and 72nd minutes of play and holding Temple to just three shots on goal.
Temple went into the game wanting to play more aggressively on offense, but it backfired because the Owls didn’t generate quality shot attempts.
“We did a lot of good things in the first half,” Bochette said. “Our shape was very good for large parts of the first half and, but we gave them two openings and they scored two goals.”
The Knights exploited Temple in transition when sophomore midfielder Ellie Moreno got the ball at midfield and worked her way deep into Temple’s half at the three minute mark. She passed off to sophomore forward Trescott Shamlou, whose one touch pass deflected off of Temple freshman defender Brooke Kane to Knights’ freshman midfielder Katie Bradley. Bradley sent a shot into the bottom right corner of the net past junior goalkeeper Kamryn Stablein, making the score 1-0.
Each Temple defender occupied a Knights’ attacker during the play, but Central Florida got up the field quickly and made the Owls’ defense play on their heels.
“I thought the girls responded well to it, they didn’t hang their heads,” Bochette said. “Early goals are hard. It changes the whole complexion of the game.”
Temple was able to generate offensive opportunities in spurts throughout the game, but anytime they got close to scoring the Knights organized quickly and stopped any strong shots from being put on goal.
Knights’ junior defender Mathilde Kack routinely eliminated chances from Temple’s attacking forwards and midfielders.
In the 17th minute, Temple had a scoring chance after Kane broke up a pass and got the ball to sophomore forward Teri Jackson, who then passed off to freshman forward/midfielder Lexy Endres who was running up the left wing, but Kack got over in time and boxed Endres out and UCF got the ball back.
“I think we could have done better at times,” Bochette said. “There was a real intent in what we were trying to do, and that resulted in some goalscoring opportunities and their goalkeeper being put under pressure from time to time. But we need to do it more and get more comfortable in that.”
In the 38th minute, Knights’ junior forward Kristen Scott sent a pass in to junior forward Mallory Olsson, who tapped the ball into the net making the score 2-0.
Olsson scored her second of the game in the 72nd minute making the score 3-0. Knights’ freshman defender Sarai Linder sent a pass almost 40 yards to Olsson, who snuck in behind the defense again. Olsson settled the ball as she fought off Temple senior defender Marissa DiGenova and shot the ball past Stablein.
“There’s got to be growth in multiple areas, there’s no doubt about that,” Bochette said. “We have very little time to lick our wounds.”
Temple’s next game is on the road against Villanova (0-1, 0-0 The Big East Conference) on Feb. 18.