The women’s soccer team faced heavy offensive pressure from the onset of its game against LaSalle Sunday and never recovered.
The Explorers found themselves on top two minutes and 34 seconds into the game, courtesy of a goal by Kristen Hextall. They never looked back from there, beating the Owls, 3-0, at McCarthy Stadium Sunday.
The Owls lost their third straight game and watched their winless streak reach five. Their record fell to 5-6-3 overall and 1-4-1 in the Atlantic Ten Conference.
The first half continued to play out in favor of La Salle, as the Explorers kept control of ball and tallied 12 shots on goal. The Owls managed just one.
Carissa Philips scored the second goal for La Salle on a cross pass from Morgan Golden with 9:30 left in the first half.
“[We] were sitting back, letting them dictate the pace of the play,” Temple coach David Jones said of the first half.
In his halftime speech, Jones said he issued the following statement to his team.
“They are playing a lot more physical than we are. We have to step up to the challenge if we want to give ourselves a chance to get back into the game.”
That is exactly what Temple did.
As soon as the second half started, the Owls played more physical and began asserting more pressure on La Salle.
“We were more intense,” junior Wendy Halina said. “We were more focused as a team.”
This intensity translated into more shots on goal. Temple placed more shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of the second half than they had the entire first period. The Explorers totaled eight shots on goal in the period, compared to Temple’s six.
“At halftime we knew what we were doing wrong,” junior forward Charisma Wright said.
Wright said Jones told the team they needed to step up and that all the leaders on the team echoed that sentiment.
The Owls had multiple scoring opportunities, in which they attempted quality shots on net, but they were stopped on each attempt.
“In the second half, we just had to step up and put them under pressure and when we did that, we had more opportunities,” Jones said. “But unfortunately, we didn’t score.”
La Salle also had five shots in the half, one of which connected to the back of the net on a rebound goal after Temple failed to clear the ball. That goal, the second scored by Philips, sealed the game at the 64:20 mark.
The Owls also suffered an injury to defender Kersha Walker.
Walker, a junior, was going for a ball at midfield when she was struck in the head and fell to the ground. She was escorted off the field and taken to the hospital by ambulance. Jones said Walker might have suffered a concussion and may miss one to two weeks.
Jones thought officials should have called that incident a foul.
“I thought it was the official that let the game get out of control early,” Jones said. “Once that happens, if he is not calling fouls, the players keep playing.”
The Owls return to action against Duquesne Friday at Ambler Field.
Nick Hollenstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.