The field hockey’s team matchup against Saint Joseph’s in the Atlantic Ten Conference semifinals was supposed to be the silverware that set the table for a postseason feast.
Instead, it was nothing more than a spoiled meal for the Owls, who were upset by the Hawks, 3-2, at Finnesey field Friday.
“I think our confidence grew a little too much,” coach Amanda Janney said. “And we had played so well the week before, scored some great goals that week, that we thought it would be as easy as it was the weekend before.”
The game was the last for seniors Alli Lokey, Ashley Bird, Leanne Vogelsong and Nadia Clendening. All four have been key contributors to a team that has won 38 games in the last four seasons, including 15 this season, the most since 1991.
“They are all great impact players,” Janney said. “I think we lose a lot with those four. They just gave us so much versatility on our team. Actually all of them started in a different position than what they finished their career in.”
Lokey and Bird were recently awarded the 2007 A-10 Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively.
No Owl had won either award since 1990.
The Owls now have lost four consecutive semifinal games. They have not been able to take flight in the postseason, going 2-10 in since their A-10 championship win in 1994.
The top-seeded Owls (15-6) were pressured from the onset by the fourth-seeded Hawks (11-9), who scored just six minutes into the game. Brianne Miller connected with a penalty corner into the left corner of the cage.
But Temple picked up the tempo with a game-tying score 15 minutes later. Hot-shooting sophomore Dannah Brehm, fresh off a hat trick against the Hawks the weekend before, tallied her 10th goal of the season, courtesy of an assist by sophomore Mandi Ruth.
The see-saw battle continued seven minutes later, as Miller added another goal for the Hawks, this time assisted by Anne Schreuders.
The second half was a defensive test for both squads, as the two teams struggled to make headway. The scoring drought ended with 3:48 left in the game, as Temple sophomore Charise Young deflected home the tying goal.
“Our girls really fought hard through the game to get back in it and stay in the game and keep fighting almost throughout the end to get that second goal to tie it up,” Janney said. “At the end of the game the whole team was really disappointed in the way that we played.”
The Owls’ jubilation was short-lived, as the Hawks landed a knock-out punch 49 seconds later. Theresa Barbati fed Kellie Walter for the game-winning goal to give the Hawks a 3-2 victory.
The Hawks outshot the Owls 12-7. They also edged the Owls in penalty corners, 6-5.
Anthony Stipa can be reached at email@example.com.