It started off as a rainy Sunday morning as Temple University women’s soccer (5-9-4, 2-5-1 The American Athletic Conference) defeated Delaware State University (0-17) 4-0 in its last home game of the season.
The Owls’ seniors were commemorated on Sunday as they played the last home game of their careers.
Senior goalkeepers Morgan Basileo and Cassy Skelton, defenders K.J. Waghorne, Emily Keitel and Lacey Powell, midfielders Toni Feite and Molly Tobin, and forwards Fran Davis, Hannah Alexander, Morgan Morocco and Jules Blank were honored before the match.
“Their first year, we only won three games,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “It was like the weather today. That was an ugly year. And for a quarter of them, it’s been a great career, but for some of them, it’s been a disappointment. Either because of injuries or they just didn’t play as much as they would’ve liked.”
Skelton, Waghorne, Powell, Feite, Davis, Alexander and Blank all started on Sunday after not starting or playing much this season.
These players have played a combined 849 minutes in 18 games this season. Junior defender Marissa DiGenova started 17 games and has played 1,626 minutes this season.
“I was honored to be able to play and start today,” Skelton said. “For our class, getting the win was all that mattered. But to me, it doesn’t matter who played or not. It just was making sure we got a clean sheet and that we got it.”
Feite suffered a double-leg break during the 2017 season and she did not see the field much in 2018. Sunday’s game meant more than just playing her last match, Feite said.
“We were all really upset when [Feite] came off,” O’Connor said after Sunday’s match. “She was blaming me because I started crying first, but she was crying, too. Then the whole bench started crying. Most people don’t come back from a double-leg break.”
Alexander’s family was in attendance on Sunday. To see their daughter was a “special moment,” said Jim Alexander, her father.
Hannah Alexander appeared in 13 games this season, but hasn’t started since Sept. 1 against Sacred Heart University. Before this season, she had played in just 12 games in her first three years.
“When you play at the younger levels and start a lot and then move to Division-1 and the level of competition elevates, you don’t get the chance to play as often,” Jim Alexander said. “So when she’s able to get these special moments like these, it means a lot to her. It means a lot to us as her parents, it means a lot to her brother.”
Sunday was a chance for them to forget about the last four years and remember why they’re on the field, O’Connor said.
“I think sometimes they forget how much they mean to everybody,” O’Connor added. “That’s the sort of stuff that’s priceless to us as coaches. Sometimes they don’t see their value as anything but soccer players. They’ve rebounded from tragedy and come back strong.”