It took two decades, but it finally happened.
Junior attacker Rachel Ingraffea, a native of Ithaca, N.Y., scored two consecutive unassisted goals to open the second half as the University of Massachusetts defeated the Temple Owls 5-3 at UMass’ Garber Field.
It was the Owls’ first loss to the Minutewomen since 1980.
The entire game turned out to be a defensive struggle as goaltenders Iris Alvarado of Temple and Jen Nardi of Massachusetts continued to trade spectacular saves.
Assisted by Rebecca Minaker of Newton, Mass., senior midfielder Stephanie Pavlick, a native of nearby Blue Bell, Pa., broke the scoring drought with a goal for the Minutewomen nine minutes into the game. Pavlick later returned the favor when, at the 8:32 mark of the first half, she assisted a Minaker goal. That tally increased the UMass lead to 2-0.
Atlantic 10 Player of the Week Kelly Ruch, a Phoenixville, Pa., native, scored the first of her two goals before intermission, which kept the team within striking distance. The 2-1 halftime deficit was the closest the Owls would get to catching the Minutewomen for the remainder of the game.
Ingraffea’s two quick goals in the opening minutes of the second half gave Massachusetts a three-goal advantage, and considering the stellar play of the Minutewoman defense led by Nardi, that was more than enough to hold up.
But Temple didn’t fade away, as the Owls’ Jen Jefferson, a native of Annapolis, Md., responded with an unassisted goal, cutting the lead to 4-2 at the 20:15 mark.
The two teams again went through a scoreless stretch for more than eight minutes until Massachusetts senior midfielder Sara MacNabb of Baldwinsville, N.Y., sealed the deal with a goal at the 12:04 mark.
With four minutes remaining, Liz Frengs, a native of Collingswood, N.J., assisted Ruch’s second and final goal of the game. The scoring tally brought Ruch’s season total to 48 goals.
Temple dropped to 5-1 in the A-10 and 7-6 overall, while Massachusetts improved to 4-1 in the conference and 6-6 overall.
The loss could prove costly for the Owls. The Minutewomen, via the tiebreaker, can capture a share of the Atlantic 10 conference regular season title and the top seed in the conference tournament with a win at LaSalle on April 30.
The defending A-10 tournament champion Hokies of Virginia Tech also stand with a singe league defeat, and would be involved in the three-way tie at the top of the conference should UMass prevail opposite LaSalle. Because Temple beat Virginia Tech, the Hokies beat Massachusetts and the Minutewomen beat the Owls, there would be no tie breakers for conference tournament seedings and the 1-3 seeds would come down to a coin toss.
Should UMass lose to the Explorers April 30, however, Temple’s defeat of Virginia Tech earlier in the season would give the Owls the tournament’s top seed early next month.