The field hockey team defeated Richmond, 4-2, for the first time ever and advanced to the Atlantic Ten Tournament.
The field hockey team needed a win to qualify for the Atlantic Ten Tournament for the seventh straight season.
Unfortunately, the Owls faced the Richmond Spiders, whom they had never beaten. The Spiders entered the game without an in-conference loss and had surrendered just one goal in conference play.
But thanks to four penalty-corner goals on Senior Day, the Owls (8-11 overall, 4-2 A-10) defeated Richmond, 4-2.
With the win, Temple clinched the No. 3 spot in the A-10 Tournament.
Temple kicked off Senior Day at Geasey Field with a breakaway opportunity from sophomore forward Bridget Settles at the first half’s 32-minute mark. Although Settles was unable to score, the opportunity foreshadowed an offensive onslaught by the Owls.
About six minutes later, the Owls earned their first corner penalty opportunity. Senior defender Kristen Wanner scored a goal with assists from seniors Mandi Ruth and Charise Young. Wanner loaded up from the top of the circle and blasted a shot past Richmond’s defense and into the back of the goal.
The Owls and Spiders (11-8 overall, 5-1 A-10) went back and forth for the next 15 minutes without any offensive threats between them. At the 11:40 mark, the Owls forced another corner penalty opportunity but were unable to capitalize. Two minutes later, the Owls once again were set up on a corner penalty opportunity, and they decided to once again go to Wanner for the shot. The decision paid off, as Wanner notched her second goal of the day and Mandi Ruth and Young once again provided the assists.
Wanner’s two goals, which proved to be the difference in the contest, raised her season tally to four. Young entered the contest with a team-leading eight assists and raised her total to 10. Mandi Ruth’s six assists were good for second on the Owls.
The Spiders answered with a goal by senior forward Adrian Pickar on a fastbreak, but the Owls refused to allow them any momentum and forced yet another corner opportunity with 4:10 remaining in the half. Once again, the Owls got the ball to Wanner, but Wanner, instead of scoring, came away with the assist to Settles. Settles’ goal increased her team-leading total to 12 on the season.
Richmond started the second half with its own corner opportunity five minutes in, but senior forward Kasey Ruth made a tremendous block.
The Spiders did cut the Owls’ lead to one when senior back Sarah Blythe-Wood scored.
But with 11:30 remaining, Young scored a goal to seal the deal for the Owls.
“Most of the achievements are small compared to the memories,” said Young, who has been selected to compete in the Division I Senior All-Star Game. “Coming out to practice with a group of girls who are my best friends is what means the most to me.”
The Owls’ six seniors will celebrate the win and then begin a week of preparation for the A-10 Tournament.
“[The Owls’ six seniors] are just tremendous leaders, and they each lead in their own special way,” coach Amanda Janney said. “They’re fighters. They work hard. They train hard. They’re all very good athletes, and they hate to lose.”
The Owls’ quest for an A-10 title begins Friday at 3 p.m. at Massachusetts, where Temple will square off against Saint Joseph’s, who beat the Owls 4-0 earlier this season.
Janney admitted that Temple was outplayed and out-hustled by St. Joe’s but insisted that her team will come out with much more intensity this time around.
“[We are] very happy to be facing [St. Joe’s] in the first round.”
Raymond Boyd can be reached at email@example.com.