Temple University field hockey (5-9, 2-8 Big East Conference) lost back-to-back games against No. 6 Liberty University (12-2, 10-2 Big East) this weekend. The Owls lost 4-2 on Saturday and 2-0 on Sunday afternoon in Lynchburg, Virginia.
The Flames’ offensive unit is ranked fifth in goals per game nationwide at 3.42, totaling 41 goals scored in the season.
On Saturday, the Flames cranked in a high volume of shots, finishing with 27 attempts and 14 corner opportunities.
Liberty’s penalty corner unit executed three of the team’s four goals on Saturday. At the end of the first quarter, sophomore defender Jodie Conolly assisted junior midfielder Lizzie Hamlett, who stood left of the cage and tapped the ball in, giving the Flames a 1-0 lead.
In the final seconds of the second quarter, Hamlett and sophomore defender Bethany Dykema assisted Conolly, giving the Flames a 2-1 lead.
The Flames’ penalty corner unit scored two times in the fourth quarter. First, sophomore forward Daniella Rhodes assisted Dykema on the left post, giving Liberty a 3-1 lead. With two seconds left in the game, Conolly assisted Dykema for her second goal of the day, bringing the final score to 4-2.
The Owls’ offense had some success Saturday thanks to junior back Nienke Oerlemans, who finished with two goals. Oerlemans scored on one corner opportunity in the second quarter when graduate student midfielder Veronika Novakova assisted her with around five minutes left in the half, making the score 1-1.
For Oerlemans’ second goal, senior midfielder Taylor Alba swung a pass to her before she finished on the rebound, making the score 3-2 in the fourth quarter.
On Sunday, the Flames’ offense again found success against the Owls’ defense and put 20 shots on cage.
In the first quarter, Dykema and redshirt-senior midfielder Kendra Jones assisted Conolly, who scored by using a drag flick, giving Liberty a 1-0 lead. In the middle of the second quarter, Dykema and junior forward Charlotte Vaanhold assisted Conolly, giving the Flames a 2-0 lead.
In 2018, Liberty beat Temple 8-2, and the Owls have improved since, only giving up 10 goals in four games against the Flames this year, said head coach Susan Ciufo.
“Defensively, we played a strong game both days,” Ciufo said. “Liberty is extremely threatening and has an opportunity to go far into the tournament this year. We got almost all our underclassmen minutes today and are looking forward to our continued development.”
On Sunday, the Owls finished with one shot and were shut out by Liberty’s defense, but the team was proud of their effort offensively over the weekend, Oerlemans said.
“There was definitely an improvement,” Oerlemans said. “We also were able to attack their circle a couple of times and even got to score twice.”
Temple will play against Villanova (4-8, 3-7 Big East) on April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
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