The weekend road trip of the Temple field hockey team ebbed and flowed like a temperamental river.
Temple steered a steady course on Saturday, defeating Virginia Commonwealth in a 2-0 shutout. The win extended the team’s recent winning streak to an impressive five games.
But the Owls soon found themselves swimming upstream, losing 9-1 to No. 1-ranked Old Dominion on Sunday. The loss ended the team’s streak and foiled the Owls’ plans for a winning season.
On Saturday, junior Virginia Gonzalez gave the Owls an early lead against VCU, scoring off an assist by Haley Dervinis. Senior Jessica Jaworski added an insurance goal late in the second half and that’s the way it ended: in a 2-0 Temple win.
The Owls dominated in shots on goal and penalty corners, consistently attacking the Rams defense. But as well as the offense played, it was the outstanding defense–led by senior goalkeeper Serene McGrath-which delivered the game to Temple.
McGrath fended off nine Ram shots on the way to the shutout. Her brilliant defensive effort coupled with the Owls’ offensive authority sealed this victory.
Fortunes quickly turned, however, when the Owls went up against national powerhouse Old Dominion, a team with a 19-1 record.
Old Dominion played like a juggernaut, led by scoring sensation Marina DiGiacomo and sophomore Tiffany Snow. DiGiacomo finished the season as the NCAA’s all-time leader in points.
DiGiacomo and Snow each had a hat trick against Temple.
The Owls were simply outdone, as the Owls wound up on the short end of not only goals, but also shots and penalty corners. Goalies Serene McGrath and April Herman made valiant efforts, but their opponents were too strong.
Temple will try to shake off the loss at ODU and prepare for the upcoming Atlantic 10 Tournament, next weekend at the University of Massachusetts. The Owls have played well within the conference, with a 4-1 record, and will go into the A-10 tourney as the No. 2 seed.
Temple will play No. 3 seeded Rhode Island on Saturday in the conference semifinal. The Rams eliminated the Owls in the semifinal round of last year’s A-10 playoffs.
If Temple survives Rhody, the Owls will face the winner of the UMass-West Chester semifinal on Sunday in the A-10 Championship Game. The champion receives the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Championship Tournament.