In the Big East Conference Championship, Temple faltered early on.
Connecticut scored five goals within the first 15 minutes and the Owls couldn’t recover, eventually falling to the reigning national champions, 7-3.
“You can’t go down five goals against the No. 2 team in the country,” coach Marybeth Freeman said. “Unfortunately, we had a defensive lapse, which was hard for us to get out of. We weren’t playing our style of team defense. … We got a little bit sloppy and didn’t put pressure on, and when we did, we got eliminated.”
Casey Umstead scored the Huskies first goal five minutes into the game and within the next three minutes, UConn’s Pippa Lewis scored two more goals, putting UConn up 3-0 after eight minutes of play.
Less than two minutes later, Karlie Heistand stretched Connecticut’s lead to four, and in the 14th minute, Big East Offensive Player of the Year, Charlotte Vietner scored her 37th goal of 2015, putting the Huskies up 5-0.
“It’s not that we didn’t come out with enough energy,” senior midfielder Alyssa Delp said. “I just think we were playing a little bit more defensively. We were just a little afraid to go forward right away. It’s not that we were playing nervous at all. I think we were trying to focus so much on our defense that we weren’t thinking enough about the offense.”
In the 19th minute, senior midfielder Sarah Deck scored off of a penalty corner for the Owls, cutting the Huskies lead to 5-1.
Thirteen minutes later minutes, just before the end of the first half, Delp put a penalty stroke in the back of the cage to get Temple back within three goals.
Three minutes into the second period, UConn’s Roisin Upton scored a goal off of a penalty corner, giving the Huskies a 6-3 advantage.
For the next fifteen minutes, both teams held each other scoreless until the Owls drew another penalty stroke. After the call was confirmed, Delp converted the opportunity, cutting the Owls’ deficit to two goals.
“It’s something that Alyssa has been great at all season,” Freeman said. “She is a very versatile stroker, so I think it’s hard to scout against someone like that and prep their goalkeeper. She was really good and she’s been poised all season. She has gone six for six on her strokes all year. It’s pretty incredible.”
UConn’s Charlotte Veitner scored her 38th goal of the season in the 68th minute, giving the Huskies a 7-3 advantage.
Matt Cockayne can be reached via email at email@example.com and on twitter at mattcockayne55.