After losing its opening game of the season, Temple University women’s soccer (1-1, 0-1 The American Athletic Conference) defeated Villanova (0-2, 0-0 The Big East Conference) 3-0 on the road Wednesday afternoon.
After a quiet first half in which the Owls only had one shot on goal, Temple’s offense erupted in the second half, scoring three goals in 14 minutes and keeping the Wildcats off the board with tight defense.
“We’re a young team and we’re still doing a lot of things that are new and foreign, so every game we’re aiming for a certain level of development and growth,” said head coach Nick Bochette. “We started very brightly, then 20 minutes into the game Villanova was on top of us. Then we made a couple of adjustments and the girls came out swinging in the second half.”
Owls junior midfielder Hailey Gutowski opened the scoring in the 53rd minute, followed by senior midfielder Emma Wilkins in the 57th minute and junior forward Emily Kavanaugh in the 67th minute.
“It’s never easy to have a quick turnaround because you’re worried about them recovering and the mileage they covered on Sunday,” Bochette said. “But they were up for it and they recovered and it really showed today.”
Villanova had six shots on goal in the first half and controlled the game, but the Wildcats couldn’t get the ball past junior goalkeeper Kamryn Stablein, who had nine saves.
Temple contained Villanova’s offense, as almost every single Wildcats shot came from outside the 18-yard box, making saves much easier for Stablein. Stablein also made timely saves off of the Wildcats’ nine corner kicks.
In the 25th minute, Wildcats graduate student forward Sam Rosette was right in front of goal when she attempted a header into the bottom center of the goal, but Stablein grabbed the shot off the first bounce.
“We’re very confident in [Stablein], and she can make up for a lot,” Bochette said. “If they’re going to shoot from 20, 25 yards out, we like [Stablein’s] chances to make that save. If we give up 15 shots but they’re all from far out, that’s fine and Kam’s going to deal with those all day. That’s by design.”
Bochette made a few personnel changes in the second half, including moving senior defender Djavon Dupree from center back to left back and having senior defender Arryana Daniels replace her at center back.
Moving Dupree back out to the left allowed her to move more freely and contribute to the offensive attack, and Daniels could help to better anchor the backline.
In the 49th minute, Gutowski got behind Villanova’s defense and passed off to Kavanaugh, who couldn’t get a shot off after Wildcats freshman goalkeeper Maria Thomas stopped her. The rebound fell to Gutowski, who shot toward the goal before the ball hit the post, and Thomas ran back to cover the ball before it could go in.
Just four minutes later, Gutowski and Kavanaugh were back at it on the breakaway. Kavanaugh passed off to Gutowski, who beat Thomas this time for the 1-0 Temple lead.
Temple kept the pressure on the Wildcats in the 57th minute when, after a scramble in the box, Wilkins came storming in from the right side of the field and poked in the ball past Thomas after it couldn’t be cleared away.
In the 67th minute, Kavanaugh got past Villanova’s defense for a breakaway, but the defense caught up to her and she couldn’t get a shot off. Owls sophomore forward Teri Jackson followed it up with a shot that Thomas saved, but Kavanaugh was left uncovered as she sent the ball to the back of the net for Temple’s third goal of the day.
Villanova had three more shots on goal in the final six minutes, including one that went off the crossbar, but still couldn’t beat Stablein.
“We’re in good spirits right now, it’s definitely a good result,” Bochette said. “In this world, you don’t take anything for granted, every result means something.”
Temple’s next game is at South Florida (1-0, 0-0 The American) on Feb. 21 at 1 p.m.