Kate and Allicia Yurkovic started the scoring for the women’s soccer team, and Niki Conn kicked the game winner against Duquesne.
Seven straight losses dotted the women’s soccer schedule the last few weeks. The Owls, then, desperately needed a signature win to get back on track.
Temple (5-8-1, 1-4 Atlantic Ten Conference) managed to get just that on Sunday, when the Owls defeated the Duquesne Dukes, 3-2, in come-from-behind fashion.
After junior midfielder Kristin Vinicky scored in the 68th minute to put the Dukes (3-9, 0-5) up 2-0, the Owls appeared destined to continue their losing ways. Fortunately, however, a pair of sisters were determined to keep their team in the game.
Freshman forward Kate Yurkovic scored a little more than a minute later, heading the ball past goalkeeper Gabby Morrin. Not to be outdone by her little sister, sophomore midfielder Allicia Yurkovic took a pass from sophomore midfielder Niki Conn and headed in the tying goal, narrowly avoiding collision with the goalpost in the process.
But Conn wasn’t done just yet, and neither were the Owls. With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Conn took a pass from junior midfielder Meridith Crowell and broke toward the net. Eluding Duquesne defenders, Conn soon found herself with just Morrin to beat. A swift kick bested Morrin, giving the Owls the lead for good.
The Yurkovic sisters, who played together at Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg, seemed to feed off each other, Temple coach David Jones said.
“Kate’s really stepped it up, and since Kate’s stepped it up, I think [Allicia] has decided, ‘Hey, I have to keep up with her,’” Jones said. “Having them together, along with Niki, is really starting to come through.”
Facing Morrin provided a challenge for the Owls, as her goalkeeping style is far from routine. Morrin, a 5-foot-11-inch junior, played aggressively, oftentimes coming out to midfield to control the ball. In fact, Morrin took the free kicks for the Dukes, something usually reserved for defenders or midfielders.
“She’s dangerous,” Jones said. “We really felt since she plays so far off her line that we could get some chances, and we did. At the end of the day, she’s just like any other goalkeeper.”
Speaking of goalkeepers, freshman Gillian Kacsuta replaced junior Kara Williams in net for the Owls. The reason for the change was largely to shake things up, Jones said.
“I think Gillian did fine,” Jones said. “Since we weren’t winning, we went with a keeper change to see if we could mix it up a little bit, and obviously, it was a difference today.”
While any win is significant for a team trying to snap a losing streak, the way that the Cherry and White stayed resilient makes Sunday’s victory even bigger, Jones said.
“It’s huge,” Jones said. “It’s one of those games that you’re not sure it’s going to go your way. We just kept fighting back, and unfortunately, sometimes you have to go down a goal or two.
“It gives us a ton of momentum,” Jones added. “That’s exactly what we needed. We needed to do something to get a win and to tip the scales in our favors, and hopefully, this is just the start of everything.”
The victory also snapped another, more statistically peculiar streak for the Owls.
“The last four games we’ve lost 2-1,” Jones said. “We decided before the game today that we weren’t going to lose 2-1. No matter what the score was, no matter what happened, we were going to keep plugging away.”
The Owls hope to make further progress on Friday, when they face cross-town rival La Salle. The game begins at 5 p.m.
Kyle Gauss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.