After a scoreless second half, Friday’s game went into overtime, when junior midfielder Rachael Mueller scored the game-winning goal that sent both the Temple bench and fans into a euphoric state.
“You can’t really explain that feeling when you’re in overtime,” senior backer Ali Meszaros said. “When you score that goal, it’s just a sense of relief and excitement that you just beat a ranked team.”
Mueller’s goal defeated Old Dominion University, ranked No. 13 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll, 2-1 in overtime at Howarth Field. The win extends Temple’s (5-8, 2-2 Big East) winning streak to four games.
Redshirt-junior forward Sarah Keer opened the scoring for the Owls on a goal assisted by junior forward Maiyah Brown. It was Keer’s first goal of the season.
“We got on the board first, which I was happy to see,” coach Marybeth Freeman said. “I’m surprised that ball didn’t go through the net, she hit it so hard.”
Keer’s goal was one of few opportunities for the Owls in the first 35 minutes. Old Dominion largely dominated possession in the first half, which resulted in six shots on goal for the Monarchs compared to two for Temple. The Monarchs also got nine corners, but could not score.
This trend continued in the second half, as the Monarchs had two more corners in the second half and one in overtime. Temple’s defense stopped all 12 chances.
“[Corner defense] was something that we gave a lot of focus to,” Freeman said. “In the beginning of the season we struggled with that a lot, and we changed things up prior to Big East play.”
Old Dominion tied the game 25 minutes, 43 seconds into the first half on a goal scored by sophomore midfielder Chrissy Horn.
However, Horn’s goal was the only one that freshman goalkeeper Maddie Lilliock would allow Friday afternoon. Lilliock played an excellent first half, stopping five out of the six shots sent her way to keep the Owls in the game.
Lilliock stopped nine out of the 10 shots that she faced, making saves in key situations. Two of the Owls’ wins during their streak are one-goal victories.
“She’s playing awesome. I’m really proud of her”, Meszaros said. “I can’t even tell that she’s a freshman. She’s really stepped up to the plate.”
“She is very unwavering and [unemotional],” Freeman added. “She’s very focused on the field.”
Keer and senior midfielder Paige Gross got injured during the contest. Their respective statuses for the team’s next game on Sunday at Penn are unclear.
“We’ll look at it. We have a great athletic training staff and great doctors on staff,” Freeman said. “Their pain tolerance is incredible. They get hit and they get back up, so I don’t anticipate that changing for Sunday’s game.”
Varun Sivakumar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @VarunSivakumar.