Temple women’s soccer loses to nationally ranked Memphis

Temple had only one shot on goal in the first half.

Team captain and senior midfielder Molly Tobin surveys the field during an exhibition match against Lafayette at the Temple Sports Complex on Aug. 18 2019. | COLLEEN CLAGGETT / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University women’s soccer (3-7-3, 1-3 The American Athletic Conference) lost to Memphis (12-1, 4-0 The AAC), 2-0, Sunday afternoon in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Tigers came into the match ranked ninth in the United Soccer Coaches poll and have now won 10 consecutive matches.

“Our conference is just really good, so all of the teams are really good,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “[Memphis] was just exceptionally fast and talented all over the field. Whereas, most teams have a couple of weaknesses, with Memphis you can’t find a weakness. Their bench is just as strong as the girls out there. It was a great challenge.”

The Tigers scored both of their goals early on in the first half. Junior forward Clarissa Larisey scored both goals for the Tigers in the first 13 minutes of the match. First goal came just two minutes into the match to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead and then Larisey scored again in the 13th minute to extend the Tigers’ lead to two.

“We tried to play possession against them and it cost us a corner,” O’Connor said. “We wanted to try and win the game. We didn’t come here just to defend for the whole game. We made a couple of bad decisions and we didn’t react to them. They just counter attack at speed.”

The Owls did not garner a lot of scoring opportunities. They only finished with three shots with two of them being on goal. On the other hand, the Tigers had 16 shots with 10 of them being on goal. The Tigers’ aggressive offense forced senior goalkeeper Morgan Basileo to make eight saves during the match.

Despite dominating on offense, the Tigers did not score a goal after the 13th minute. After allowing the two goals, Temple adjusted to the speed of the Tigers’ play, O’Connor said.

“They left everything they had on the field,” O’Connor said. “They were absolutely exhausted. Everyone just did a great job of stepping up and accepting more responsibility.”

During the two-game road trip against Tulsa and Memphis, the Owls only allowed three goals. However, they were shut out in both matches. The Owls’ scoring struggles have been a trend this year. The team has not scored more than three goals in a match this season and has scored only two goals in their last five games.

The lack of offense has been “very frustrating” for the team, O’Connor said. “The girls know going a goal down is tough,” O’Connor said. “Going a goal down means we’re struggling. When the first goal goes in, teams just defend like Memphis did. Tulsa definitely defended in numbers. We just find it hard to break teams down like that.”

After spending the weekend on the road, the Owls will be back home for the next two games. 

Temple will host Southern Methodist at the Temple Sports Complex on Thursday at 7:00 p.m.

“They’re must win games and there’s no where we’d rather be than at home for games like this,” O’Connor said. “Getting the home crowd and getting to sleep in our own beds will be absolutely massive.”

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