In their first game of the season, Temple University field hockey secured a goal from an unlikely source off the bench to get their season started on the right foot.
The Owls (1-0, 0-0 Big East Conference) defeated the Lafayette Leopards 1-0 on Friday Afternoon in Easton, Pennsylvania, behind the lone goal from junior midfielder Olivia Viccari.
While Vaccari was only off the bench for 13 minutes, she made the most of each of those minutes as she tied the team lead in shots. Vaccari had no goals or assists last season, so her emergence during the game was a good sign for the Owls.
It was a slow start for both teams as Temple and Lafayette were trying to shake off the rust from the offseason. Both squads were forcing early turnovers and struggling to connect on passes to clear the ball from their zones.
The only two chances that each team got were from off of corners, yet neither were able to capitalize, and just three shots were taken the entire quarter.
Things would begin to swing Temple’s way in the second quarter, though, as they got off to a hot start, applying high pressure to Lafayette and not letting them clear the ball forward.
This would prove to work in Temple’s favor as they received their second corner of the game. A great pass from senior defender Nienke Oerlemans, led to a perfect sweep shot at the top of the circle from Vaccari for Temple’s only goal of the game.
Oerlemans was a strong contributor to the Owls win because she was the only player to see the field for the entire 60 minutes, excluding junior goalie Molly Frey. Oerlemans contributed on both ends of the field, coming up with key blocks and setting up countless clears out of the defensive zone.
The Owls’ ability to limit shots and control possession of the ball was a huge factor in the win. Lafayette was only able to get off five total shots and just two of them were on goal. In the second half, Temple was extremely dominant in time of possession facing minimal pressure in their zone.
The Owls will face off against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks for their home opener at Howarth Field on Sunday, Aug. 28h at 12 p.m.
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