It has been a season of firsts for the Temple Owls and, Friday night’s win can add another to the list—their first win against a Big East opponent.
The Owls took on the nearby Villanova Wildcats beating them 4-1 to improve to 5-2 on the season.
Temple has been making a statement even before Friday night’s game, by making their way into the national rankings, first with the No. 11 spot last week and then the No. 14 spot this week. But this win made it even stronger.
“Since we’re in a new conference we just want to make a statement to every team, especially since we’re ranked now, we just want to prove to everyone that we deserve to be ranked No. 14 and we’re here to win games,” defender/midfielder Rachel Steinman said.
Defense and goalkeeping have been the Owls bread and butter since the beginning of the season and that still held true against Villanova.
The offense was a bit of a concern a week ago, as the team was outshot in four of its first five games. But that all changed last Saturday, when the Owls shutout Monmouth 6-0 and outshot them 21-9.
Temple was able to carry the offensive pressure from the end of last weekend into Friday night, outshooting Villanova 14-3 in the first half alone. The shot count was 22-13 in favor of Temple by the end of the game.
It didn’t take long for the Owls to get on the board, with Steinman scoring her first goal of the year just under four minutes in.
Then, out of an unorthodox penalty corner, sophomore forward/midfielder Tricia Light put in a rebound that came off a shot that deflected off the mask of Villanova senior goalkeeper Alex Diekman to make it 2-0 Owls. The goal was also Light’s first of the season.
“It’s a good feeling, I’ve been trying to crack the ice,” Light said. “I only had one goal all last season, so I really wanted to make a contribution to the team in the stats.”
Junior forward Amber Youtz had to leave the game for a bit, after she took a shot off the arm from senior midfielder/defender Molly Doyle, who was trying to clear the ball out of the defensive zone.
Youtz went to the sideline while freshman midfielder/forward Sarah Keer subbed in.
Youtz had her arm checked out and then walked it off behind the bench, making her way back into the game before the first half ended.
“Just a little bruise,” coach Amanda Janney said of Youtz’s arm after the game.
In the second half, Youtz would show that she was just fine, scoring two goals—one of which was unassisted—to give Temple a four-goal lead.
Villanova’s freshman forward Courtney Devine scored late in the second half to end the shutout, but by then it was too late for the Wildcats to attempt any sort of comeback.
Friday night was Temple’s first game against Villanova since 2005. The Owls are now 10-3-0 all-time against the Wildcats.
One of the challenges Temple faced going into Friday night’s game was Villanova’s playing surface.
Villanova plays on a football field with grassier turf that is different from the flatter surface at Geasey Field.
In order to prepare, the team spent the week practicing on the different surface. Based on how the game went, they made the adjustment pretty well.
“A lot of the girls played on this type of turf in high school so we were able to get used to it,” Steinman said. “It was an okay transition, but I think our team did pretty well with it tonight.”
Nick Tricome can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @itssnick215.