Despite shining performances from a pair of goalkeepers, the Temple field hockey squad couldn’t stop the surging Richmond Spiders from handing it its fourth loss of the year, in overtime, 2-1.
Goalies Serene McGrath and April Herman carried the Owls (3-4) on their backs as they combined to negate seven Richmond corner opportunities in a game where the offense was surprisingly inefficient.
“We weren’t poised in the second half,” Temple head coach Lauren Fuchs said. “In the middle we had scoring opportunities…we didn’t play our best game. If we did what we needed to do, we wouldn’t have had to go into overtime.”
Early defensive lapses resulted in a first-half Spider score.
Richmond junior Holly Chase broke through two defenders and fed a pass to forward Beth Greer who slammed it past McGrath at 25:36 in the first half.
Down early, the Owls turned to their offensive weapons. Senior Laura Bergey answered, ripping a rebound into the net after Richmond goalie Brooke Fuller kick-saved a corner blast.
Pressure from the Richmond offense led to several scoring chances and corner opportunities for the Spiders.
McGrath responded, however, denying five Richmond corners. The senior goaltender’s performance was highlighted by a clutch poke check after a Richmond rebound fell onto the stick of an attacking forward.
With several minutes remaining in the second half, Fuchs pulled the magnificent McGrath and replaced her with her backup, Herman.
More naturally aggressive than McGrath at goalie, Herman proved to be equally solid, allowing no Richmond scores. With 14.6 seconds left in regulation, Herman denied a strong corner shot, sending the game into overtime.
In the extra period, the Owls’ offense began to show signs of life after vanishing in the second half.
However, Richmond forward Heather Rice stripped a defender of the ball and proceeded to nail the back of the net, ending the game in a fashion that sent the Spiders into celebration and broke Temple’s hearts.
Many were scratching their heads after Fuchs pulled McGrath in the second half, but the it certainly wasn’t the goalie switch that cost Temple the game.
“We’re lucky to have two outstanding goal-keepers in April and Serene,” Fuchs said. “Not many teams would change their starting goalie that late in the game.”
Midfielder Emily Moyer and forward Michelle Murawski also had noteworthy performances.
Temple’s tough schedule, in which they play five nation’s best 20 teams, continues Sept. 23 against undefeated Georgetown at Geasey Field.
Fuchs said that the strong opponents temper the Owls for late-season and possibly post-season play.
“If we win the (Atlantic 10) conference, we have an automatic NCAA tournament birth,” Fuchs said. “You can’t play easy teams and expect to win the conference.”
With Virginia Tech jumping From the A-10 to the Big East after this academic year, there has been talk of Richmond replacing the Hokies in the conference. That would be all right with Fuchs:
“I wish we could play them again right now.”