Temple women’s soccer scheme changes aren’t leading to wins

The Owls have a 1-3 record after changing to a scheme with more players in a midfield position.

Junior midfielder Julia Dolan kicks the ball during the Owls’ game against Villanova at the Temple Sports Complex on Sept. 8. | NICK DAVIS / FILE PHOTO

Temple women’s soccer has struggled to win close games this season and is leading the American Athletic Conference in ties.

The Owls (3-7-3, 1-3 The AAC) are trying to implement a new “3-5-2” alignment in the hopes of winning more close games instead of tying, coach Seamus O’Connor said. 

The new formation puts five midfielders, three defenders and two forwards on the field at the same time. Having more players in the middle of the field will give Temple more opportunities to put extra pressure on other teams, O’Connor added. 

“We’re better than that, but no one’s going to give it to us,” O’Connor said. “So it just gives us a little bit more confidence, a little bit more energy because now this time of year, everyone’s tired, everyone’s sore and tired.”

The Owls first switched schemes before their game at home against Cincinnati (4-5-2, 2-0 The AAC) on Sept. 26, O’Connor said. Since making the switch, Temple has a 1-3 record. 

Despite bad results with the new scheme, O’Connor is confident more practice with the new formation will yield better results. 

“I think getting them video will be great to see the stuff that they could have done faster, ‘Oh, that player was open’ or ‘Next time, I gotta make that run there,’” O’Connor said.

The only win with the new scheme came at home against East Carolina (4-6-1, 1-1 The AAC), 1-0, on Sept. 29. 

Against the Pirates, the scheme worked well for the Owls, allowing them to score a game-winning goal in overtime. 

Junior defender Marissa DiGenova dribbled around a few defenders on the right side of the field and passed the ball off to junior midfielder Julia Dolan in the box, who then passed it to sophomore forward Gabriela Johnson for the game-winning goal. 

While the team has been focused on a scheme change, the Owls believe they can exploit opposing teams with the speed of their forwards, O’Connor said.

Johnson and senior forward Morgan Morocco have had several scoring chances due to their speed, he added. 

Johnson recorded the Owls’ only shot on goal in their 2-0 loss on the road against Memphis (12-1, 4-0 The AAC)  on Oct. 6. Morocco recorded two shots in the team’s 1-0 loss on the road against Tulsa (8-6, 2-2 The AAC) on Oct. 3.  

The team is trying to keep a positive spin by remembering not every game is “all bad.” 

“We are very frustrated,” O’Connor said. “Yeah, I think it’s kind of split between the positives and how mentally tough we are, how fit we are and all that, all that side of it. But we’re all competitors. So, we wanna win.”

The Owls’ next game is at home against Southern Methodist University (7-3-1, 0-2 The AAC) on Thursday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m.

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this story, “Seamus” was misspelled.

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