Temple University women’s soccer (4-9-4, 2-5-1, The American Athletic Conference) battled South Florida (10-3-0, 5-1-0, The AAC) on Sunday, ultimately falling 2-0 at Corbett Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
The Owls struggled with their “difficult schedule,” the hot and humid weather, and an overreliance on the defense, dropping the second game of a weekend set against Central Florida (8-2-4, 3-1-2 The AAC) and South Florida.
The Owls came off a double-overtime match against the 21st-ranked Knights on Thursday and forced a tie in Orlando.
“I’m extremely pleased with how the team performed this weekend,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “We had to play back-to-back games in the tough Florida heat and played really well in both games, even if the bounces didn’t go our way in the second game.”
Sunday’s weather was so hot that the game needed to be stopped for an NCAA-mandated water break.
“We stepped up to another level this weekend,” O’Connor said. “This week will be all about recovery as we look towards our final stretch of games.”
The Owls’ defense and goalkeeping withstood 39 total shots across the two games and allowed only two goals, one of which was a penalty kick. The Owls generated only 1 shot in the first half against USF and ended the first half with an 8-1 shot disadvantage.
O’Connor said the Owls were too focused on defense.
“We need to be more balanced and spend more time on attack,” O’Connor said. “We were being too timid. We were able to do that more in the second half and got better results.”
O’Connor said Temple finally “woke up” in the second half of the game, as they made multiple efforts to generate a tying goal. The team tacked on seven shots, including a breakaway chance from senior froward Morgan Morocco in the 50th minute.
“[Morocco] placed her shot well and did everything we teach our players to do,” O’Connor said. “But sometimes you just have to tip your hat to the goalie for a great save.”
The Owls were the only team to have beaten the Bulls in the 2018 season.
O’Connor said the Owls went into “surviving and not playing mode,” and focused their efforts on preventing goals instead of trying to score them.
“We need to focus more on our attacking and figuring out ways to score instead of relying on our defense,” he added.
The Owls will be in action next against Delaware State University on Oct. 27 for Senior Day at the Temple Sports Complex at 1:00 p.m.