Temple field hockey gets shut out in first conference match

The Owls lost to undefeated Liberty University, 4-0, on Friday afternoon at Howarth Field.

Sophomore forward Tali Popinko (right) stands defensively during the Owls’ game against Liberty at Howarth Field on Sept. 20. | NICK DAVIS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University field hockey (3-2, 0-1 Big East Conference) lost to Liberty University (5-0, 1-0 Big East Conference), 4-0 at Howarth Field Friday afternoon. 

The Owls have not won a conference game since 2016, when they beat Quinnipiac University. 

The Owls struggled from the start. Liberty, which is ranked 16th in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll, outmatched Temple from the first whistle. They moved the ball well, and found open spaces all over the field. With 16 seconds left in the first quarter, the Flames capitalized. Sophomore forward Charlotte Vaanhold scored on a corner, to put the Flames up 1-0.

Early in the second quarter, Flames sophomore midfielder Lizzie Hamlett scored on a corner to put the Flames up 2-0. 

With 18 seconds left in the quarter, Flames junior forward Jill Bolton scored on another corner. Liberty took advantage of their chances and did not look back. 

The third quarter was quiet for the Owls. They only took two shots and could not get anything generated. Liberty continued to dominate and control the ball. The Flames’ defense smothered the Owl’s offense, which only finished with four shots. 

In the fourth quarter, the Flames sealed the victory. Freshman forward Daniella Rhodes scored early in the fourth quarter to put the Owls away.

The team is not discouraged by the loss to the undefeated Flames and is ready to move on to its next game, senior midfielder Kathryn Edgar said. 

“Tomorrow we will be thinking about our next game,” Edgar said. “It’s a whole different team on Sunday. It’s nice to play higher-ranked teams because we know we can play and compete against them.” 

Despite the loss, the Owls are still confident heading down the stretch of their schedule and looking to build off the lessons they learned against Liberty, coach Susan Ciufo said.

“We can take a lot of positives, we played with energy the entire sixty minute period, Ciufo said. “That’s really hard to do against an opponent who’s more skilled on paper. We played really hard and defensively we stopped a lot. I think that’s a piece that we can take forward to tomorrow’s practice. I think it’s really beneficial for our girls to see when you do that, you can be successful.”

Next, the Owls will take on City 6 rival Drexel at Howarth Field on Sunday at 1 p.m. 

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