Temple (9-7, 4-4 Big East Conference) pushed hard in the second half to tie the game late after trailing by three goals, but Villanova (8-7, 3-5 Big East) came up with the final goal Saturday afternoon at Villanova Stadium in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
With one minute, 45 seconds left, Wildcats junior attacker Jillian Swikart scored what became the game-winning goal in Villanova’s 14-13 victory. Swikart had a three-point game with two goals and an assist. She now has 38 goals to lead the Wildcats.
After Saturday’s loss, Temple must win its regular-season finale against Georgetown University and hope for a University of Denver loss to make the Big East tournament.
“This was just a really disappointing game because this opportunity, you know, was right there for us,” coach Bonnie Rosen said.
Villanova won the draw after Swikart’s goal and took its final timeout with 1:30 left. The Wildcats held onto the ball until there were only 26 seconds left in the game.
“We fell a little short on communication at the end, which is unfortunate,” sophomore defender Kara Nakrasius said.
Sophomore midfielder Maddie Gebert drove the Owls’ comeback attempt with a career-high eight points. She scored six goals, including four in the second half.
Gebert was a perfect four-for-four on free-position opportunities. She leads the Owls with 32 goals this season. The second-leading scorer, junior midfielder Amber Lambeth, has 19 goals.
“I felt good that I could contribute that much, but I’m really upset I couldn’t contribute one more, two more at the end to win,” Gebert said.
Three other Owls had multi-point games. Freshman midfielders Bridget Whitaker and Jackie Cerchio each scored twice, and senior attacker Kira Gensler had a goal and an assist.
With 2:33 left in the game, Cerchio tied the game at 13. Her teammates piled around her in celebration.
“There were a lot of ups, of highs and lows this game,” Gebert said.
The Owls hoped to possess the ball in their attacking zone for the final two minutes, but Villanova won the last two draw controls of the game.
After Villanova’s extended possession, the Owls’ defense tried to throw the ball upfield for a final attempt on the attack, but time ran out before Whitaker could fire a shot.
The Owls’ season finale against Georgetown will start at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Howarth Field.
“We need to work a lot on making sure we have consistency,” Gebert said. “As a team, we can get through it.”