Despite a switch at goalie and added pressure on the attack in the second half, Temple lost its fourth straight game of the season, 9-1, Friday against Northwestern University.
Northwestern, ranked No. 14 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll, opened up the scoring during the second minute in Evanston, Illinois when sophomore midfielder and forward Saar de Breij scored.
Northwestern expanded its lead by adding four more goals in the first half. Junior midfielder Puck Pentenga had a goal and two assists, de Breij added another goal and redshirt-sophomore backer Kirsten Mansfield tallied a goal and an assist in the first 35 minutes.
After the fifth Wildcats’ goal, coach Marybeth Freeman replaced sophomore goalkeeper Maddie Lilliock with junior Chloe Johnson for the rest of the game. Lilliock didn’t make any saves and allowed six goals. Johnson stopped six shots and allowed three goals in the second half.
“As a former goalkeeper myself, presence in net is such a key ability to have, to be able to know the angles is important, and Maddie just didn’t have it today,” Freeman said. “It happens. Chloe had a really good week in practice, and we have such a strong goalkeeping unit, that we were confident with her in.”
After trailing 5-0 through the first 35 minutes, Temple came out with a more poised attack in the second half. Temple did not have a single shot in the first half. In the second, the Owls had five shots, three of which were on goal.
Senior midfielder Rachael Mueller led Temple’s attack, as she ended the shutout in the 39th minute off of a penalty corner. Four of Temple’s five shots, including Mueller’s two, were attempted by players who didn’t start the game. The corner was the only Temple had for the entire game.
“We got some good shots and scored on the only penalty corner we had,” Freeman said. “So I’m happy with our percentage, but we need more.”
After Temple brought the game within four goals, Northwestern took over again. The Wildcats scored their first goal in the second half and sixth of the game, three minutes and 13 seconds after Temple scored.
Northwestern added three goals in a span of 6:40 starting with freshman backer and midfielder Kaitlin Wood’s goal at the 61:42 mark.
Friday’s game was the Owls’ second straight game against a ranked team, but that’s just the challenge Freeman wants. She schedules a tough nonconference slate to help her team prepare for Big East Conference play.
Temple’s next game is today against Kent State University at 2 p.m. Like the Owls’ previous four opponents, Kent State finished in the Top 30 of the Ratings Percentage Index in 2016.
“This is what Temple Field Hockey is going to be like going forward,” Freeman said. “We need to know how mentally strong we are as a team and we figure that out by challenging ourselves against the top teams in the country. We learn something every time we come out and play.”