Owls record shutout in conference opener

Temple records its seventh shutout of the season in a 2-0 victory against conference foe Houston.

In their first ever American Athletic Conference game, the Temple Owls defeated the Houston Cougars 2-0 on Thursday night at the Ambler Sports Complex.

“Now that we’re at the conference time of the year, it’s all about results,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “Doesn’t matter if they’re ugly, pretty or how we get them, it’s all about the results”.

Temple (6-3-1,1-0) has now recorded seven shutouts in 2013, one shy of the program record for shutouts in a season earned in 1991.

“I think the best part about [the shutout] is that it was the first conference game,” senior defender and captain Karly O’Toole said. “It feels so good to just win in conference, the first game, and not just win, but get the shutout. I think it speaks a lot about the offense and defense”.

The Owls two score victory against Houston (1-3-3,0-1) gives Temple its fourth multi-goal performance of the season which is the most since 2010.

Sophomore midfielders Kelly Farrell and Paige Rachel were the offensive leaders against the Cougars, netting a goal each. Rachel registered an assist on Farrell’s goal.

“We just want to prove everyone wrong and that’s what we did today,” Rachel said. “Getting two goals, first game of the American. I don’t think we can ask for anything better”.

In her seventh shutout of the season, sophomore goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff recorded four saves and the victory. Averaging 10 saves previous to Thursday’s game, Houston’s senior goalkeeper Cami Koski saved three shots against the Owls.

“I think defensively as a whole team, we’re one of the top defensive teams out there,” sophomore defender Taylor Trusky said. “Four goals in ten games. I think that’s pretty outstanding”.

23 minutes into the first period, Rachel fed Farrell a pass that led to an Owls goal. Farrell’s score gave Temple a 1-0 advantage which held through the period.

“Instead of sitting back in the first half, we were trying high pressure right away, catch them off guard, get one in early like we did,” Farrell said. “It was just awesome. As a team, we were just on today”.

For more than 40 minutes in the second period, both the Owls’ and Cougars’ defense held strong but in the 86th minute, Koski was knocked down in a cluster of players, leaving Rachel wide open for an uncontested goal.

The Owls defense continued to deny Houston shot opportunities late in the game and preserved the two goal shutout.

“To come off this game with a big win, it just lifts us up even higher,” Rachel said. “It shows how much we want it, shows how much we put into working up to this first conference game. I think we’ve proved ourselves”.

Brien Edwards can be reached at brien.erick.edwards@temple.edu or on Twitter @BErick1123.

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