Temple failed to score in its first competitive action of the fall, losing to Villanova University, 1-0, on Saturday in its lone scrimmage of the preseason.
After a scoreless first half, Villanova’s Kayla Hughes scored the match’s only goal in the 69th minute.
Despite the outcome, coach Seamus O’Connor was pleased with the team’s effort and said that he used the game as an experimental forum to test out different lineups and get each player some time on the field.
“Everything was perfect besides the score,” O’Connor said. “Everybody played so we were trying things. It’s our only game that doesn’t really count, so it was the only game I really get to mess around and try different things.”
O’Connor said sophomore Gabriella McKeown had a strong performance at right outside back in her first game taking over for Alyssa Kirk, the team’s only graduated senior from last season. He also commended senior midfielder Shannon Senour and junior left outside back Taylor Matsinger for their play on Saturday.
“Villanova’s a very good team, very well organized defensively, good Big East team,” O’Connor said. “Always hard to score on and we just took them apart. Our runs on the ball and the stuff we’ve been working on was absolutely fantastic.
Senior midfielder Kelly Farrell had chances to score in the 62nd and 65th minute off corner kicks, but her shots didn’t find the back of the net. O’Connor said he was happy with the offensive effort despite not scoring a goal.
“During the game, I could see them getting frustrated and I was just trying to get them to understand, ‘Look it’s more important that you know how to get it to the goal,’” O’Connor said. “The finishing touch is something that just comes with practice; it just comes with getting into the habit of sticking it into the net.”
Seniors Paula Jurewicz and Paige Rachel, who both suffered torn ACLs last season, both saw limited action and left the game with no complications.
“[Jurewicz] has been working with our trainers and we need her on the field come conference time,” O’Connor said. “Paula did the first 15 minutes and came out and then Paige did the first 15 minutes of the second half and then we got her out as well, so both of them came through it with no injuries so that was huge. They’re looking really good, so that was a huge bonus seeing them back on the field again.”
Temple kicks off the regular season at home against Fairleigh Dickinson University at 4 p.m. on Aug. 21.
Tom Reifsnyder can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @tom_reifsnyder