In a matchup of the two bottom teams in the American Athletic Conference, Temple University women’s soccer (4-8-3, 2-4 The AAC) defeated Houston (3-11, 0-4 The AAC) 2-0 on Sunday at the Temple Sports Complex.
Sophomore midfielder Hailey Gutowski scored the Owls’ two second half goals. The first came in the 71st minute after sophomore forward Gabriela Johnson’s shot was deflected by Cougars senior goalkeeper Samatha Cude. The ball fell to Gutowski who scored.
In the 78th minute, Cude came out to make a save but senior forward Morgan Morocco got past her and found Gutowski waiting in the middle of the box who shot again and put it in the goal.
“Scoring a lot today was really good for us,” Gutowski said. “We needed this win for our confidence. Especially scoring these goals because we’ve been in a scoring drought. It’s something positive that we can build on as the season moves on. Hopefully this is gonna help us get into conference playoffs and keep that momentum going from there.”
Despite the Owls’ successfully scoring, the Cougars outshot the Owls 5-3 in the first half.
Cougars junior forward Jazmin Grant got in behind the Owls’ defense multiple times in the first half. In the 29th minute, Grant had a chance to score, but senior defender Emily Keitel put pressure on her, causing her shot to go wide left of goal.
“Just the way we were positioned with Emily in the middle, it was very good,” O’Connor said. “She was constantly in the middle marking Grant, and she bailed us out a couple times in the first half when we got caught one versus. one when we shouldn’t have. But then we adjusted and never got caught in the second half.”
In the 52nd minute, Grant received a cross near the end of the box and headed it on net at senior goalkeeper Morgan Basileo, who pushed the ball out of bounds.
“Today’s result gives us that extra boost because again, because the ladies are physically beat up,” O’Connor said. “We’re really beat up right now with the injuries, and it is just brutal. But when you win, it makes you run a little faster and makes the pain go away.”
Sunday was the Owls’ first win since Sept. 29 after a stretch of three straight losses. O’Connor knows that just three wins in conference play can get the Owls into the American tournament, as shown by their record in the 2018-19 season.
The Owls play away on Thursday at 6 p.m. against Central Florida.
“Going into Florida next week, we want to keep the momentum going,” Gutowski said. “The past two games we’ve played really well, but we didn’t get the result that we wanted against SMU. Today we played really well and obviously got the result. We’re really eager to play again.”