Temple takes down La Salle 2-1 in season opener

Goalkeeper Molly Frey, along with aggressive offense, helped the Owls to a season-opening win.

Temple Field Hockey is working on gaining their winning streak back. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple Field Hockey (1-0-0, 0-0 Big East) took care of La Salle (0-1-0, 0-0 Atlantic 10) 2-1 in its first game of the season. Temple played an impressive game on both ends of the field, putting constant pressure on La Salle’s defense while stifling every scoring opportunity La Salle had on offense. 

In the first half, the game had a constant change of momentum. Both the Owls and Explorers’ defenses were suffocating, making scoring chances tough to come by. Temple’s defense did not even allow La Salle to take a shot, while La Salle limited Temple to just three shots. By the end of the game, the Owls had 12 shots, compared to the Explorers’ nine.

Temple finally got on the board with just less than three minutes to go in the second period when one of back Alize Maes’ three shots snuck past La Salle goalkeeper Ryan Curley.

In the second half, Temple immediately came out pressuring La Salle with a more focused style, moving the ball with ease and playing two-touch hockey. The Owls finished the game with eight corners against La Salle’s four, allowing Temple to control the pace of play.

Temple forward Tess Muller, who was named to the Big East preseason all-conference team, scored Temple’s second goal of the game less than two minutes into the third quarter off a beautiful pass by midfielder Agustina Tucceri. 

In the fourth quarter, the offenses finally came alive. La Salle seemed to crack Temple’s relentless defense, but goalkeeper Molly Frey made herself a brick wall in front of the net, making all four of her saves in the second half.

With six minutes left in the game and La Salle in need of a goal, the Explorers were able to set up for a penalty stroke. However, Frey made the save, leaving La Salle’s Tatum Johnson absolutely stunned. 

“I am extremely happy with how I played,” Frey said. “I saved a stroke, which we have been practicing all week, so seeing that practice pay off is really cool.”

At the very end of regulation, La Salle’s Cara Larripa put a penalty corner home to end Frey’s bid for a shutout. This brought the final score a little closer for the Explorers. 

While Temple played well for the majority of the game, Coach Michelle Vittese is always looking for ways her team can improve. 

“There were moments where it was pretty clinical and we did exactly what we were looking to do, and then there were moments where it was not what we were looking for,” Vittese said. “There were times up and down where La Salle was putting pressure on and we just weren’t managing it.” 

Temple looks to continue its hot start to the season against Bucknell (0-1, 0-0 Patriot League) Sunday at 12 p.m. at Howarth Field.

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