Winless in Big East Conference play and riding an eight-game losing streak, the Owls traveled to Norfolk, Virginia Oct. 20 to face Old Dominion University, the No. 12 team in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association coaches poll.
Despite allowing 21 shots and 11 penalty corners, the squad defeated the Monarchs 1-0 for its first victory since a 4-2 win against Monmouth University Sept. 18.
With the win, the Owls also moved from last place to a four-way tie for third place in the Big East Conference standings.
“Not only was it a huge conference win, but it was a huge win in the NCAA,” coach Marybeth Freeman said. “I mean they were ranked No. 12 when we played them, and they were ranked No. 11 prior to us going down there. … It was a double dose of beating the No. 12 team in the country but also winning against a strong conference opponent.”
Friday, the Owls secured their second Big East win with a 3-1 victory against Georgetown University to even their conference record to 2-2 and move into a tie for second place in the Big East.
Despite a 6-12 overall record, if the Owls win their last conference game—a matchup with Villanova Oct. 31—and Providence College loses its season finale against Old Dominion Oct. 30, the team will be awarded the No. 2 seed at the Big East Tournament Nov. 6.
After her team’s victory against Georgetown, senior forward Tricia Light said the Owls must finish the regular season strong.
“It’s just going to help our confidence moving into the Big East tournament,” Light said. “Obviously, the losing streak hurt us a little bit, but the [Old Dominion] win and [Georgetown] win kind of have us on that upward path again. We know what it feels like to win again.”
The team followed its victory against Georgetown with a 4-1 win against Lafayette College Sunday.
During the team’s eight-game losing streak, the Owls allowed three goals or more six times. Opponents outscored Temple 29-11 during that time period. In their last three wins, the Owls have scored eight goals while allowing two.
Freeman said in order for the Owls to win their final game, the team must continue to improve its defense, which will translate into more offensive chances.
“That was really the deciding factor for us against Old Dominion,” Freeman said. “We had probably the best team defense that we have played all season. … On the flip side of that is really being able to capitalize on our opportunities in the front field, which we’ve been really diligent in working on as well.”
Despite the potential Big East tournament implications surrounding Sunday’s game against the Wildcats, senior midfielder Alyssa Delp said the team is treating the matchup like any other.
“We’re going into the [Villanova] game on Saturday just knowing that we need a win,” Delp said. “We’re just going to come ready to go. ”
Matthew Cockayne can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MattCockayne55.
Video shot by Linh Than and edited by Sean Brown