The Owls were able to pull off a draw against the No. 22 Connecticut on Wednesday at Ambler 1-1.
Temple improved to 6-3-1 after the draw, and responded well after its first conference defeat last week.
UConn dominated the Owls through most of the game. The Huskies possessed the ball for the majority of the match and outshot the Temple 19-9 with eight of them on target. UConn was able to play its possession game effectively as the team was able to move the ball from one side to another. Thus, Temple was not able to get a chance to really possess and have a shot on net.
UConn had several chances in the game, but their best one came in the 62nd minute when Nicholas Zuniga got past the defense and rifled passed the goalkeeper for the first goal of the game.
Temple, however, did not let the goal affect them as it managed to keep cool and play their style. As they pressed and possessed more, the Owls were rewarded with an opportunity to attack the net. A foul by UConn set up a free kick for the Owls, who were then able to capitalize.
Sophomore striker Jared Martinelli curled a ball into the box and freshman defender Robert Sagel was able to head the ball into the goal, in the 79th minute.
“I thought it was a great game,” MacWilliams said. “I think they’re a very good team and we played against a very good team, but I thought my guys battled. They were disciplined and we followed the game plan and could’ve easily said, ‘Okay we lose 1-0. But we didn’t. The guys battled back and showed a lot of character today.”
“It was awesome,” MacWilliams said. “We work on set-pieces. Jared bent a perfect ball. And [Sagel] got up in the air and you saw what he can do with balls in the air. He did a great job. Sagel’s done an unbelievable job for us.”
The game plan, coming in, was all about defense and getting the other team out of its comfort zone.
“We wanted to make sure defensively we’re good and I thought the guys did that,” MacWilliams said. “It was the system and the guy executed the system and again I think we frustrated them. They’re a very athletic team and we didn’t allow them to use their athleticism and so we kind of took that away from them. So, credit to the team. Went up and followed the game plan and we got a result.”
The Owls face a non-conference team next in a road match against Drexel on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.
Hoon Jin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.