Frustrated might not even begin to describe the feeling of the women’s soccer team right now.
In a game full of handballs, missed scoring opportunities and fine goaltending, it was a Massachusetts defender who ended up being the decisive factor in the Owls’ 1-0 fall to the Minutewomen Sunday at Ambler Field.
Despite several scoring chances, many from sophomore forward Charisma Wright, the Owls could not find the back of the net as UMass senior Stephanie Barrett’s late first half goal was all the Minutewomen needed to hand the Owls their sixth straight defeat.
The Owls were shut out for the sixth time this season and fell to 0-5 in Atlantic Ten Conference play and 3-11 overall. In 14 games the Owls have lost by two or fewer goals eight times.
“Losing by a goal or two is getting pretty old,” senior Trish Dalton said. In fact, the Owls have only scored two goals just once this season.
“We just got to keep creating chances,” Dalton said. “The forwards have to be aggressive in the box.”
The Owls had more scoring chances than the Minutewomen, including the only two corner
kicks of the contest. But repeating the trend seen throughout the season, nobody managed to punch a goal through.
“We’re getting there,” senior midfielder Elena Hekimian echoed. “It’ll come. We just have to keep working hard.” Once UMass took the lead, goaltender Kristin Walker shutdown any hopes of a Temple comeback by making great save after great save. The top two came back to back as Temple looked to answer UMass’ goal late in the first half.
A Minutewomen handball yielded a free kick for the Owls, but Walker stepped up and flew to her right, then quickly to her left, to keep the Owls off the scoreboard. Frustrating, eh?
“Yeah, it’s pretty frustrating,” Dalton said. As the second half progressed and the Owls’ scoring chances continued to fall flat, play started getting physical. No cards were thrown, but players from both teams continued to end up on the grass. After a particularly hard hit to a Temple player went uncalled, Owls coach David Jones took exception, getting into a shouting match with the official.
“I asked the ref if he got the player’s number,” Jones explained. “He said he didn’t need any help doing his job, but obviously he did. I was just trying to protect my players.”
With yet another shutout in the books, Jones said he’s not ready to go back to the drawing board and change his gameplan.
However, he doesn’t seem to think that way.
“I’m not changing it right now,” he said. “We’re trying to teach defensive discipline. That’s where we are right now. We’re taking time to build.”
While the Owls may find it hard to take something positive out of yet another close loss, UMass coach Jim Rudy might have given the Owls the praise they’d been searching for.
“I’m not sure the best team won,” he said. The Owls look to rebound as they hit the road this weekend for dates with Duquesne and St. Louis. They return home the following weekend to close out the season against Fordham and St. Bonaventure.
Todd Orodenker can be reached at email@example.com.