Just under 29 minutes into the first half, Temple senior forward Gabriela Johnson collided with a Rider defender and suffered a lower body injury, and in an instant, the Owls’ entire offensive outlook was altered.
Temple University women’s soccer (0-2-3, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) tied Rider University (3-1-1, 0-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) 0-0 on Saturday night in Lawrenceville, New Jersey despite another quality performance from the Owls’ defensive back line.
Johnson, who was named to the 2018 AAC All-Rookie team and second on the team in points in 2019, missed most of the previous two seasons with a knee injury. The Owls believe her latest injury is not as severe.
“We believe it to be a minor knock,” said head coach Nick Bochette. “We will have to see how the swelling is in the morning, but the hope is we are talking about days and not weeks to months.”
The Owls had multiple scoring opportunities out of the gate. The best chance came from freshman midfielder Lauren SanFelice, but she missed high and left of the goal.
Just under two minutes later, senior forward Emily Kavanaugh had a chance from inside the penalty box but was denied by Broncs’ junior goalkeeper Ellie Sciancalepore.
Temple had another promising scoring opportunity at the 22-minute mark when Johnson took two shots on goal from inside the penalty area, but Sciancalepore quickly shut down both shots.
Despite the lack of offense, sophomore goalkeeper Kyla Burns, who has started the last four games in place of senior goalkeeper Kamryn Stablein due to a hand injury, provided the Owls with another dominant outing in net, keeping them in the game by recording seven saves.
“She came up really big tonight,” Bochette said. “It hasn’t just been these past two weeks, she has been an unbelievably capable and professional understudy to [Stablein] for two years now and has gone about her work in an ambitious manner.”
Tonight’s game marked the fourth time in the Owls’ first five games they have failed to score a goal. Bochette continues to believe the Owls’ luck will eventually change.
SanFelice and sophomore forward Sumaya Togba are both players that the team thinks will start to put balls in the net, Bochette said.
Temple is currently four games into a six-game road trip. They will not play a home game at the Temple Sports Complex until their Sept. 22 matchup with conference rival Southern Methodist University. The Owls are eager to take a break from traveling, Bochette said.
“Most of the games have been regional but it doesn’t change the fact that it has been hard,” Bochette added. “We would much rather be at home because you know you have a friendly atmosphere and friendly crowd, but it has been a way to test ourselves and push ourselves out of our comfort zone.”
The Owls will look to jumpstart their offense when they take on Drexel University (4-0-1, 0-0 Colonial Athletic Association) on Sept. 8 at 6 p.m. at Vidas Athletic Complex in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.