Temple Field Hockey takes down UConn to open conference play

Tess Muller’s late-game goal broke the scoreless tie and gave Temple its third straight win.

Temple Field Hockey beat the University of Connecticut in Howarth Field for their fifth win on the season. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Field Hockey (5-2, 1-0 Big East Conference) defeated UConn (1-6, 0-1 Big East) 1-0 Friday afternoon at Howarth Field. The win marked the Owls’ third straight victory and first conference win of the season.

During the first three quarters of the game, Temple’s offense was completely neutralized, only getting off two shots and failing to earn a single penalty corner.

Midfielders Agustina Tucceri and Tess Muller had the first two scoring opportunities of the game midway through the second quarter, firing off back-to-back shots, but both of them sailed wide of the goal to keep the game scoreless. 

The Owls’ offense finally broke through in the critical fourth quarter, putting three shots on goal, and with eight minutes remaining, they got their first penalty corner opportunity. 

After failing to initially convert on their chances, the Owls were able to capitalize on late-game offensive pressure when midfielder Julia Bunch got the ball to Muller on the left post, who tapped it by UConn goalkeeper Natalie McKenna to break the scoreless tie.

“I saw the ball and I just kind of ripped on it,” Muller said. “I knew that we needed to score there and I am very glad that we were able to convert on the opportunity.”

Muller, who leads the team in goals and shots, was a bright spot for the Owls’ struggling offense, firing off three of the team’s five shots, with two of them being on goal.

With the offense being held in check for much of the game, the defense, which has allowed more than one goal in a game just once this season, impressed again. 

Despite facing eight penalty corners, the defense did not break. Temple goalkeeper Molly Frey earned her second shutout of the year, stopping all four shots the Huskies put on goal.

“Our defensive penalty corner was great,” said head coach Michelle Vittese. “We knew what they were looking to do and we were able to apply that and defend the goal line very well.” 

The Owls will look to extend their winning streak to four games when they head to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to face Lehigh (4-1, 0-0 Patriot League) at Ulrich Field on Sept. 17 at noon.

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