Temple lost its second straight game to a ranked opponent in Friday night’s showdown with in-state rival Penn State—the No. 7 ranked team in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association coaches’ poll.
The Nittany Lions used two goals off penalty corners in the first half to control the Owls, eventually winning 2-0.
The first goal came four minutes into the game when Penn State’s Katie Dembrowski snuck a shot past senior goalkeeper Haley Mitchell. The second score came on the Nittany Lions’ third corner of the game with 8:38 left in the first half.
“Our defensive penalty corner unit has typically been good in the past,” coach Marybeth Freeman said. “Credit Penn State for being able to execute two really well done corners. I’m still really confident in our defensive penalty corner unit. They have been very diligent all season.”
At the opening of the second period, Mitchell, the reigning Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Week, was tested with several shots on goal. Four of her seven saves in the game came within the first three minutes of the second half.
The rest of the game was scoreless, as the Owls couldn’t capitalize on seven shots, including three penalty corner opportunities.
“I think we did a good job of using our midfield, and generating our attack through our midfield,” Freeman said. “It was a pretty even game in terms of stats, although they did outshoot us. I thought we had some good looks up front, and I thought Sarah Keer was very strong on the ball. Unfortunately we just weren’t able to put our stick on the ball and be strong enough on the ball to get chances in the circle.”
Despite the lack of success against top-ranked squads, Freeman is confident that her team will be able to find its way against the best competition.
“I think it’s a level of belief,” Freeman said. “We are a good team. We are a good team player depth-wise, but until they believe it themselves it is going to be a tough battle. I think they will. They are a developing offense. I think holding a very strong Penn State team to two goals is a little victory. … I think if we’re able to do that then it’s going to be good for us with four of our remaining top-ranked opponents.”
Matt Cockayne can be reached at email@example.com