Playing on a wet turf after early rain, the skies cleared up for the Owls to score their second Atlantic Ten Conference win to remain undefeated in the conference play and move to an overall record of 5-10. Tensions certainly ran high in Temple’s 2-1 victory over the Spiders at Geasey Field this past Friday.
“Richmond Sucks!” yelled freshman business management major Patrick McHale from the Temple bleachers.
“It’s called sportsmanship!” barked back a fired up Richmond parent.
In the game, Temple faced early pressure, as Richmond (8-6, 1-1 A-10) took four corner shots in the first half. The Owls’ defense held up though, not allowing a goal on any of the Spiders’ early attempts.
“This is huge for our overall morale,” coach Amanda Janney said. “I scheduled very tough this year, and our record doesn’t show how well we’ve been playing.”
“I was a little nervous, because in the meetings we talked about how they generally score after their fourth or fifth corner,” sophomore goalie Lizzy Millen added.
Temple broke the scoreless tie in the 13th minute with a goal off the stick of junior forward Katie Briglia.
“I think the other team thought it was going out of bounds,” Briglia said. “I just sort of tipped it in.”
Briglia was certainly familiar with her opponent, as three of Richmond’s players were her teammates in high school.
“It’s always fun and a lot more intense,” Briglia said.
Richmond finally broke through in the second half, taking advantage of their fifth corner attempt. Freshman midfielder Bebecca Barry scored for the Spiders to tie the game in the 45th minute.
“I was a little disappointed,” Millen said. “We were in the right spot but I had a miscommunication with my defender and it just trickled right past us.”
The conference matchup heated up in the second half, culminating in a yellow card for Richmond’s Barry. Temple finally broke the tie with less than seven minutes left after senior forward Bridget Settles’ long pass was tipped in by the Owls’ other senior forward Caryn Lambright. Temple fans broke out in to a “T for Temple U” chant as the Owls were able to hold on in regulation for the win.
One key factor for the Owls’ victory was the unheralded play of senior defender Becca Keener. Keener stopped several outnumbered rushes from Richmond to prevent the Spiders from scoring.
“I have to be confident and try and read the play,” Keener said. “I’m the last defender, so I can’t mess up.”
Keener switched positions from midfielder to sweeper this year to help fill the void at the position for the Owls. Janney acknowledged Keener’s contribution in her team’s win Friday and their overall play.
“She’s just a selfless player who will do anything, such as changing positions, to help the team,” Janney said. “She’s not the kind of player who will get her name in the paper.”
Daniel Craig can be reached at email@example.com.