Temple women’s soccer draws Lehigh in home opener

After 110 minutes of play and several scoring opportunities, both teams left the pitch scoreless on Thursday night at the Temple Sports Complex.

Junior defender Arryana Daniels holds back a Lehigh player as Senior goalkeeper Morgan Basileo scoops up the ball at Howarth Field on Sept. 5, 2019. Basileo made nine saves Thursday night to keep the Mountain Hawks off the board. | NEIL GOLDENTHAL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Coach Seamus O’Connor was left wanting more in his team’s 2019 home opener.

Temple (1-2-1) and Lehigh University (0-2-3) left the pitch tied at 0-0 after 110 minutes of play on Thursday night.

Both teams created several strong chances on net, but Lehigh goalkeeper Miranda Royds and Temple goalkeeper Morgan Basileo made save after save to keep the game in a deadlock.

“I’m disappointed for the ladies,” O’Connor said. “They put a lot of hard work in after Sunday. We really challenged them in practice, and they did very well tonight.”

The first half was back-and-forth as the two sides traded chances on net.

Lehigh came out fast with four shots within the first 20 minutes by senior midfielder Maggie Wadsworth, sophomore midfielder Abby Furtmann and junior midfielder Lisa Kestelboym. Basileo was forced to make saves on Wadsworth in the second minute and on Furtmann in the 20th minute.

Temple did not record a shot until the 21st minute, then had one of its best chances to score three minutes later.

Sophomore forward Gabriela Johnson took the ball into the box after Lehigh’s backline was out of position. Her shot on net was blocked by a Lehigh defender. Junior forward Emma Wilkins was gathered the rebound, but her shot was also blocked.

Senior forward Morgan Morocco won a 50-50 ball and passed it off to junior defender Marissa DiGenova. DiGenova put a shot, but Royds was able to keep it out.

“One big thing we’re doing now is playing three up top on offense,” DiGenova said. “So the big thing is we’re not playing one specific position, we’re all moving off of each other. So generating those chances up top and filling the space for other girls to get opportunities is very important for us.”

Each team had six shots at the end of the first half, with each goalkeeper making three saves.

Wilkins had Temple’s best chance to score all night in the 46th minute. From the top of the 18-yard box, she sent a hard rising shot on net, but Royds dove across to make the save. A minute later, she had another chance when DiGenova sent a pass through multiple defenders, but it was too fast for her and went out of bounds.

Wilkins pulled up right afterwards and went down immediately. She left the field and didn’t return to the game.

“For now, we’ll say it’s a cramp and we’ll figure it out from there,” O’Connor said. “It’s unfortunate because she was outstanding and I thought she was going to be the game winner tonight. That first chance in the second half, I thought that was it right here. Tonight she was really special. So I really hope that cramp goes away.”

In the 73rd minute, Johnson had a good chance to score, but it sailed over the top right corner of the goal.

Two minutes into the first overtime period, DiGenova sent a long ball towards the net that almost made it through everyone, but a defender cleared it away.

The rest of overtime was filled with several close-chances, but nothing came to fruition.

“The defense really did their job tonight,” Basileo said. “We practice keeping our line, just being aggressive and making the right decisions and all that was on point tonight. It helped that the environment was a little bit more amped up than normal, but they really did their job well.”

After being on the road for three games, the players fed off the energy from the home crowd, DiGenova said.

“It felt really good to be back at home,” DiGenova said. “All the fans tonight really gave us that momentum to keep going forward for the rest of the season.”

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