Temple women’s soccer (2-3-3, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) earned its first win in its last six matches on Wednesday evening at Temple Sports Complex. The Owls beat Wagner College (2-6, 0-0 Northeast Conference) by a score of 2-1.
After two straight ties against the University of Maryland and Rider University, the Owls were able to muster enough offense to win on Wednesday, with scores coming from sophomore midfielder Hailey Gutkowski and sophomore forward Gabriela Johnson.
The Owls started the game fast in the first half, creating early chances that put pressure on the visiting Seahawks.
In the seventh minute of play, Temple manufactured a counter against Wagner.
After a couple of passes, junior defender Marissa DiGenova thought she had given the Owls an early 1-0 lead, but her goal was called back on an offsides call.
DiGenova had another chance two minutes later, but her shot went wide.
Wagner responded with physical play in the midfield. The Seahawks forced some turnovers but did not convert them into goals. Most of their shots came from far outside of the 18-yard box.
Coach Seamus O’Connor said the defense was a team effort all night.
“It’s everyone, it’s the outside mids, everyone has a defensive responsibility,” O’Connor said. “It’s taken a lot of work and a lot of video to get them to where they are.”
In the 43rd minute, DiGenavo would come up short again, as her free-kick from outside the box hit the crossbar and was cleared by the Seahawks’ defenders.
The half ended in a tie, but as soon as the second half started, Temple took the lead.
Just a minute into the second half, Gutowski received a ball on the left side of the Wagner box from Johnson and shot it past Seahawks freshman goalkeeper Erin Kelly. This was Gutowski’s second straight game with a goal.
“Gab [Johnson] had a really good ball in, and then I just finished it,” Gutowski said.
“The girls have been playing perfect balls into the box, I’ve been getting pretty good opportunities,” Gutowski added.
Temple continued its charge by registering three more shots before Wagner returned the favor with two shots of their own.
DiGenova started a counter-attack after a change of possession in Wagner’s half of the field. From the right side of the field, DiGenova cut inside and took a shot which deflected off a Wagner defender and wound up right near Johnson, who quickly shot it past Kelly in the 58th minute.
“We didn’t let up after our first goal,” Johnson said. “We kept the momentum.”
O’Connor echoed that relentless sentiment following the game.
“The girls hate my analogies and stuff, but it’s like paper cuts, we’re just gonna eventually torture you with every pass, it’s just gonna break you down,” O’Connor said. “We just knew, a good forty-five minutes like that would tire them out.”
The Owls eventually surrendered a goal in the 60th minute. A Seahawks’ corner kick from graduate midfielder Marianna Jarmarillo found the head of senior forward Maria Nunez for her fourth of the season.
The Owls’ defense held tough for the rest of the game. Like the first half, they were able to keep the shots from far outside, making the saves easier for senior goalkeeper Morgan Basileo. Basielo finished with seven saves on the night.
Even with the win, O’Connor still knows the Owls can improve.
“The possession is just at level one right now, too many bad decisions,” O’Connor said. “We work too hard, we [have] got to work smarter.”
The Owls will travel to Big 5 Rival Penn for their next game on Sunday at 6 p.m.