Temple University field hockey shut out Hofstra University in its first game in more than a year, allowing zero goals and zero shots on goal in the Owls’ opening game of the season Friday afternoon.
The Owls (1-0, 0-0 Big East Conference) won 1-0 against Hofstra (0-1, 0-0 Colonial Athletic Conference) at home by playing stout defense and creating scoring opportunities downfield.
This was Temple’s first game since Nov. 3, 2019, after its season was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I haven’t been excited for a gameday in so long, it was surreal in some ways,” said senior back Dani Batze.
On a corner opportunity at the beginning of the first quarter, graduate student midfielder Veronika Novakova passed the ball to Batze, who delivered a quick shot on net. As the shot bounced back up in the air, Novakova placed herself in front of the cage and redirected the ball into the net, giving the Owls a 1-0 lead.
The Owls’ offense had other opportunities to score on Friday but weren’t able to capitalize on them. They finished with five shot attempts and had two other corner opportunities that could have expanded the lead.
The Owls never relinquished its 1-0 lead despite the backend facing the pressure of Hofstra’s offense in the second half, with Temple’s defense shutting down most scoring opportunities.
“Our defense played a very strong second half, which helped eliminate goal scoring opportunities,” said head coach Susan Ciufo. “We need to learn to stay composed and trust the simple pass for our next game.”
The Owls’ defensive unit held Hofstra to one shot during the game and stopped all three of the Prides’ corner opportunities.
Although Temple kept Hofstra from scoring, the Prides still presented many problems for the Owls in the middle of the field.
“The second half, they put more pressure on our defenders, in which we handled a little frantically,” Ciufo said. “They are a strong team with a lot of skill in the middle of the field that really challenged our defenders.”
Although Hofstra’s pressure made it difficult for the Owls, a few players helped Temple settle down, Ciufo said.
“Nienke Oerlemans played a great game today playing very composed, Kaitlyn Cummins also added a lot of composure in our spine,” Ciufo added. “On our attack, I think Cassie Romanczuk coming off the bench was a huge spark for us.”
Cummins recorded one of Temple’s five shots on goal, while Oerlemans and Romanczuk were held without a shot on goal.
The Owls hope to develop more cohesion before they take the field again.
“We just have to focus on simple hockey and just connect with our midfield and defense,” said sophomore back McKenna Burkhardt.
Next, Temple will begin its Big East schedule and face Old Dominion in back-to-back games on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20, in Norfolk, Virginia.