Position changes among Temple field hockey players continued to pay off on Sunday afternoon against La Salle.
The Owls (2-0, 0-0 Big East Conference) beat the Explorers (1-1, 0-0 American-10 Conference) 3-0 at Howarth Field. Two of the goal scorers had also contributed to the Owls’ 3-0 win over Merrimack College on Friday.
The game started slowly in the first quarter, with turnovers by both teams early on. Later, Temple took control in the middle of the quarter.
Sophomore center back Nienke Oerlemans was a game changer on the defensive end of the field. She used her speed to steal the ball from opposing attackers and moved it up the field. In the first quarter, junior midfielder Dani Batze scored and moved Temple up 1-0.
In the second quarter, neither team gained control. Temple’s back unit, entirely made up of players who had focused on offense last season, made an impact defensively.
Oerlemans, along with sophomore Annie Judge and redshirt-sophomore Grace Shanton, were smooth in transition and cleared the ball quickly.
During the game, the players settled down and started to control the pace.
“I think we stayed very composed and stayed together,” Oerlemans said. “Everyone did what they had to do”.
Temple continued to control the game in the second half. Redshirt-sophomore midfielder Natalie Burns scored off an assist by sophomore midfielder and forward Claire Thomas and junior forward Mia Sexton in the third quarter to extend the Owls’ lead to 2-0.
Temple moved the ball well and began to control the middle of the field. They wore out the Explorers in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore midfielder Kerrie Lorenz sealed the victory with a goal at the start of the fourth quarter. Lorenz leads the team with five points and was named the Big East offensive player of the week.
After winning two consecutive games, coach Susan Ciufo has noticed the effort her team has been giving.
“I think it’s pretty special for the ladies,” Ciufo said. “Like I said Friday, they have been working really hard. To be able to come out and have back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 2008 was a really positive note for them.”
After Sunday’s win, Lorenz is confident in the Owls’ aggressive style of play.
“During the game we like to focus on being gritty and trying to get the ball away, and we play with no fear,” Lorenz said.
Next, the Owls will take on Kent State in Ohio on Friday at 11:00 am.