At the end of the third quarter, Liberty University sophomore forward Daniella Rhodes placed herself at the top of the circle on a corner attempt while sophomore midfielder and defender Bethany Dykema and redshirt-senior midfielder Kendra Jones assisted Rhodes for her seventh goal of the season to put the Flames up 2-0.
The goal proved to be the nail in the coffin in Temple field hockey’s (1-3, 0-3 Big East Conference) 2-0 loss to Liberty (4-0, 3-0 Big East Conference) at home Saturday afternoon.
The Flames had a viable attack all game and capitalized on their eight corner chances, scoring on two corners, including one at the end of the second quarter. Temple’s offense produced 15 shots but was unable to find the back of the net.
Freshman forward Julie Daels scored off a rebound by quickly tapping the ball into the back of the cage, giving the Flames a 1-0 lead.
The penalty corners made a difference in the outcome, and the Owls are focused on cleaning up the errors that allowed Liberty to receive corners, said head coach Susan Ciufo.
“We knew going into this game they’re a very attacking team, very offensive,” Ciufo said. “I think honestly for us it was some errors on our end that allows the corners for them to be able to capitalize on. So if we can connect on some of those pieces in terms of who we are in our defensive 25 and making sure we’re being a little smarter, just allowing those opportunities in the circle, then it’s a different outcome.”
The Flames played constantly on the attack and put pressure on Temple’s defense. Liberty shot the ball 11 times, seven of them on goal.
Owls senior goalkeeper Cristina Carotenuto faced intense pressure from Liberty’s offense. Carotenuto finished with five saves, including three in the third period, keeping the game within reach.
“She gets us all calm and ready in the backfield,” said junior back Annie Judge. “She’s communicating to us and I think she’s doing really well. They’re great attackers and they’re shooting a lot, and she was just ready for it.”
Temple’s offense found more success today after being held to just three shots on Feb. 21 against Old Dominion. The Owls had nine penalty corner opportunities, but the group failed to capitalize on them and were shut out for the second straight game.
Temple is focusing on capitalizing more in the circle and scoring on those chances so they can win more games, Ciufo said.
“It’s just getting a little more hungrier in the circle, I think we’re waiting for the next person to score or waiting for my teammate to score,” Ciufo added. “I think there’s an attitude to attackers and an attitude in the attack 25 that maybe we’re lacking a little bit right now, so that’s something we’re really focused on.”
The Owls will play the second game of their back-to-back series against Liberty at home tomorrow at 12 p.m.