Rachael Mueller seals field hockey’s comeback win

The senior midfielder scored less than five minutes into overtime to complete the Owls’ comeback in their 3-2 win against Sacred Heart University on Sunday at Howarth Field.

The Owls celebrate senior midfielder Rachael Mueller's goal in overtime that gave the team a 3-2 win against Sacred Heart University on Sunday at Howarth Field. | CHIA YU LIAO / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Less than five minutes into overtime, Rachael Mueller decided it was time for everyone to go home.

The senior midfielder took a pass from sophomore midfielder Kathryn Edgar all the way down the field and scored the game-winning goal for the Owls.

Temple (3-6, 0-2 Big East Conference) did not lead at any point on Sunday at Howarth Field until Mueller’s goal gave the team a 3-2 win against Sacred Heart University.

Overtime is a seven-on-seven competition instead of the 11-on-11 game in regulation. The added space gave Mueller a lane to get open. Mueller beat Sacred Heart freshman goalkeeper Hailey Power in a one-on-one situation to give Temple its third win of the season.

“Our goal in overtime is to get to two-touch the ball and get it in open space,” Mueller said. “All I had to do was just chase the ball down, and I fit the ball past their keeper for the win.”

Sacred Heart scored the first goal of the game less than two minutes before the end of the first half off of a penalty stroke. Both teams recorded five shots in the first half, and Temple had just one more penalty corner than Sacred Heart.

Despite the game being close, coach Marybeth Freeman was not pleased with how the Owls started the game.

“We wanted to build off of the game we played Friday [against Connecticut], but we were really slow out of the gate,” Freeman said. “Our game plan was to just keep it simple, make a couple of two-touch passes, but I think our biggest problem was we overcomplicated ourselves.”

Eight minutes after the halftime break, Sacred Heart added another goal to extend its lead to 2-0 and put more pressure on the Owls.

In Friday’s loss to Connecticut, freshman forward Mia Sexton scored in the 59th minute after junior forward Amanda Collins scored for the Huskies in the 57th minute to give them a brief two-goal lead.

Much like in the game against Connecticut, Temple immediately responded after falling behind 2-0. Sophomore midfielder Maddie Merton scored her first goal of the season off a rebound after an initial penalty-corner try one minute and 34 seconds after Sacred Heart freshman back Bridget LaRiccia’s tally.

Then in the 63rd minute, sophomore back Becky Gerhart tapped in a ball off another penalty corner to tie the game.

“We work really hard on our special teams in practice, always going over penalty corners,” Gerhart said. “I was able to get a really good ball in from Kathryn, and all I had to do was put it in, and I just got my stick on it.”

Temple’s next game is on Friday against Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., where the Owls will try for their first Big East win of the year.

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