Temple Field Hockey (6-4, 1-2 Big East Conference) lost 3-0 against No. 9 Liberty (10-1, 3-0 Big East Conference) Friday afternoon at Howarth Field. The Owls had their second straight loss to a Big East opponent at the Pride game.
Despite the final score, Temple played one of its best games of the season, as the Owls kept Liberty on their toes with an equal amount of corners and outshot the Flames 8-7.
Liberty opened the scoring in the first quarter after winning the ball in transition, creating a breakaway opportunity for Liberty midfielder Martu Cian to score the opening goal.
In the second quarter, Liberty won a corner after challenging a foul in the circle. While Temple goalkeeper Molly Frey did make a save, Liberty defender Jodie Conolly got the rebound and hit the back of the net to create a commanding 2-0 lead before the half.
Temple fought back in the second half, putting up six shots to Liberty’s four, but the Owls were unable to generate a goal.
Liberty defender Bethany Dykema scored early in the fourth quarter on a corner, giving the team its third goal of the game.
Second-half aggression has become a recurring theme for the Owls. Out of the ten games the Owls have played this season, they have outscored or outshot their opponents in the second half six times.
“It’s unfortunately been the theme the past couple years that we’re always a second-half team,” said Temple captain Mckenna Burkhardt. “I think we need to kick it into gear especially with more conference games coming up.”
The Owls were proud of the effort they put up against one of the highest-ranked teams in the Big East. Temple midfielder Tess Muller continued to impress, as her pace and ball skills allowed Temple to maneuver and weave through the Liberty defense.
“We can be proud of what we put out there today,” Muller said. “We made it hard for them and no matter the score we feel very good about today because we fought and tried to make the best of it.”
The positive attitude and grit shown in the second half of the game is something the Owls look to build upon for the rest of their season.
“I feel confident in our team, I think I believe in them more than they believe in themselves sometimes,” said Temple coach Michelle Vittese. “That’s something as a group we need to be better about. Just to have a little swagger.”
The game was an emotional event, as it was the first home game since the passing of President Joanne Epps.
“I got choked up before the game because you don’t know when your last moments are going to be, and she passed away doing what she loved,” Vittese said. “I feel so grateful to be at this university with such administrative support of athletics. It was great to see her recognized before the game and have the girls be able to recognize her on their arms and on their shin guards.”
The Owls will travel to New Jersey on a mission to halt the two-game skid. They will face off against Monmouth (6-3, 2-0 Coastal Athletic Association) at So Sweet A Cat Field Oct. 1 at noon.