Temple women’s soccer (3-8-3, 1-4 The American Athletic Conference) left the Temple Sports Complex with an “elevated feeling of desperation,” said senior goalkeeper Morgan Basileo following its 1-0 loss to Southern Methodist (8-3-1, 1-2 The AAC) on Thursday.
“For sure we’re desperate,” Basileo said. “From the beginning of conference play to now, every game we go into wanting a win. But nothing’s really changed. We know we have to win these games. It’s unfortunate the way things ended the way they did, but we have to come back and forget about this and be ready for Sunday morning.”
Neither team scored until senior forward and midfielder Allie Thornton converted a 78th-minute penalty kick. A push-from-behind foul called on the Owls inside the Mustangs’ box caused the penalty.
“It was kinda hard to tell what happened,” Basileo said. “Both players were wrapped up in each other. There was a little bit of a discrepancy between us and the ref. Unfortunately, it didn’t land our way this time.”
Basileo faced 22 shots with seven coming on net and saved six of them.
After Thursday’s game, the Mustangs have scored 26 goals this season and given up nine. The Owls have only scored 10 goals and given up 21.
The first scoring chance of the game came in the 16th minute from the Mustangs. Thornton took a close shot on net, but Basileo made the save. The ball slipped out of her hands, allowing sophomore midfielder Celiana Torres to take a shot, but it was blocked away.
“I think our defense played really well tonight,” Basileo said. “We’ve had problems in the past with defending crosses and one-on-one’s and coming off a tough game against Memphis, we really wanted to improve that. We did, and gave SMU a pretty big run for their money tonight.”
The Owls had their best chance to score in the 30th minute. Junior defender Djavon Dupree beat two defenders at the top of the box and had plenty of space to take a shot. She took it and beat Mustangs freshman goalkeeper Tatum Sutherland, but the ball went just wide right.
At the end of the first 45 minutes of play, the Mustangs had tallied nine shots on net compared to the Owls’ two.
From the 53rd to 55th minute, the Mustangs tallied four corner kicks and three shots. Basileo tipped the ball away twice and made a diving save to keep the game deadlocked at 0-0.
A few minutes later, coach Seamus O’Connor was pleading his forwards to “step up to the ball” and added that “you’re all hiding.”
“They’re very proud people and big competitors, and they came back well really well from that. So sometimes you just gotta know when to push their buttons,” O’Connor said. “I know it’s hard when you’re tired because they’re slower, and they’re playing against a good team. Sometimes they don’t know how great they can be.”
The Owls missed a chance for a tie in the 82nd minute when senior forward Morgan Morocco took a shot that went wide right. Sutherland came out to put pressure on, forcing Morocco into a more difficult shot.
Tempers began to flare as the Owls were desperate for another chance to tie the game up. Two Mustangs, Torres and senior midfielder/forward Hailey Bishop, received yellow cards in the 83rd minute.
The Owls could not break through the Mustang backline in the last few minutes and recorded their third straight loss.
“Tonight was a heartbreaker,” O’Connor said. “We knew we were going to have our hands full, and we just gave it everything we had. We weren’t as aggressive as possible, but our players worked themselves into the ground. There’s a lot of players carrying injuries and I’m extremely proud of them. I just wish they could get the wins they deserve.”
The Owls will face off against Houston on Sunday at 1 p.m. at home (3-10, 0-3 The AAC).