The Owls, winners of their first three games, saw their hot start draw to a close Saturday at Geasey Field in a 17-8 loss in which three Cornell players recorded hat tricks. Junior midfielder Nicole Tiernan scored half of her team’s goals, two of which came off free position attempts, while also picking up two ground balls.
“We have seen how much better we can play against other teams, and today we just couldn’t get everything to come together,” Tiernan said. “We were sloppy on ground balls, we were not communicating enough on defense, and we were slow on attack.”
The game, which was originally scheduled for 1 p.m., started an hour early in expectation of a snow storm. The storm began just after the opening draw and didn’t cease for the rest of the match, eventually causing the game to be stopped with more than seven minutes still left in regulation.
Regardless of the weather, Tiernan didn’t think it had much of an effect on the outcome.
“They were playing in the same weather as us,” Tiernan said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 degrees outside or if it’s negative 10. They’re playing in the same thing we are.”
Twenty seconds into the game, Cornell scored its first goal. Tiernan answered with her fourth goal of the season with 28 minutes on the clock, and three minutes later, her twin sister, Megan Tiernan, scored to give Temple its only lead of the game.
For the rest of the half, the Big Red outscored the Owls 10-4, including four goals from attacker Lindsay Toppe, leading to a halftime score of 11-6.
Junior captain defender Maddie McTigue talked about the defense’s inability to stop Cornell’s top players.
“I think that in the beginning, [Toppe] definitely got away from us a little bit and then towards the middle [of the game], we kind of had her handled,” McTigue said. [She] was definitely a main player on their team. She definitely got to the goal a few times. There were a few breakdowns on her and we didn’t handle her as well as we had hoped.”
The second half was much of the same, as the Big Red started with a 4-0 run, broken by Tiernan’s fourth goal of the game with just over 20 minutes left. From there, Cornell’s Amie Dickson scored her third and fourth goals of the game and Temple sophomore attacker Carly Demato added another for the Owls.
With 7 minutes, 17 seconds remaining and the score at 17-8, the referees and coaches decided to end the game due to unplayable conditions, giving Temple (3-1) its first loss of the season.
A big reason Cornell was able to score as much as it did was the amount of possessions they had. Its 19 draw controls compared to Temple’s eight gave them far more scoring opportunities.
“It started with the draw,” McTigue said. “We have to get more draws, and just get some more possessions on the offensive side. It really came down to fundamentals on both ends of the field – moving our feet, sliding, talking, and most of all ground balls.”
Coach Bonnie Rosen said her team will need to learn from the nine-goal defeat moving forward on a non-conference schedule that continues next Saturday at Geasey Field against Lafayette College at 1 p.m.
“We have the potential to be a great team,” Rosen said postgame Saturday. “It’s amazing how losing can shine the spotlight on some things and motivate you to get a lot better, so I look forward to taking this [loss] and helping us elevate our game.”
Matt Cockayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mattcockayne55.