With less than a minute to play in the Owls’ 3-2 American Athletic Conference win against Southern Methodist at Ambler Soccer Field Thursday, Kelly Farrell found herself on a collision course with Mustangs goalkeeper Catie Brown.
As the ball rolled into the box with the game tied, 2-2, Farrell continued her pursuit until her legs were taken out from under her by Brown, who was subsequently given a red card and ejected from the game for the foul.
Farrell, who leads the Owls with 11 goals this season, hasn’t scored in over a month, but she said she felt no desire to take the penalty kick even though she drew the foul that awarded her team with the opportunity.
Instead, Farrell walked away from the box and watched as senior defender Erin Lafferty stepped up with a chance to put the game away.
“I did what it took to get the PK and now that’s Erin’s thing,” Farrell said. “She can put them away. I would never want to come in and then try and do that when it’s a definite with her.”
After Mustangs defender Taylor Jackson was given a yellow card for delaying the game, Lafferty calmly booted the ball into the back of the net to give Temple (11-6-1, 3-4-1 The American) its first win against Southern Methodist since the establishment of The American in 2013.
“My teammates earned it for me and I knew that they put themselves in the position to win the game for us and I just had to finish it off,” Lafferty said. “It’s always nerve racking going to take any PK, but I knew I had to put it in the back of the net.”
Temple’s 11th win ties a program record and marks the first time in school history the team has recorded back-to-back 11-win seasons.
Lafferty’s game winner was her second goal of the match, as she netted another penalty kick score in the 87th minute after sophomore teammate Gabriella McKeown was fouled in the box by a Mustangs defender.
Lafferty, who has seven goals this season, led the team with a season-high four shots and tied a program record for career games played at 77. The record was set by Mary Mulvenna in from 1997-00 and Kelly Lare from 2003-07.
The Owls went down early when Southern Methodist’s Blair Thorpe crossed it the ball to Vanessa Valadez for a header in the 20th minute to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead.
Almost 20 minutes later, Temple responded with an almost identical play as senior defender Paula Jurewicz crossed the ball to senior outside back Shannon Senour at the far post for a header to tie the game.
The Mustangs snatched the lead before halftime when Claire Oates converted a penalty kick with 16 seconds to play.
With six minutes to play, O’Connor reminded the Owls of their loss to Tulsa Oct. 15, when they allowed two goals in the last 10 minutes of the game to lose 2-1, and implored his team to emulate the same type of comeback.
“I’m like, ‘We’re going to do what just happened to us,’” O’Connor said. “And even when we scored I kept yelling at them, ‘Let’s go! We’re getting revenge for Tulsa and we’re getting it out of our system.”
Tom Reifsnyer can be reached at Tom.Reifsnyder@temple.edu or on Twitter @Tom_Reifsnyder