On Oct. 17, 2021, Temple Women’s Soccer picked up its second win in American Athletic Conference play of the season. The win was more than two years ago, and yet it was Temple’s most recent against an AAC opponent, not finding any this season.
Since then, Temple has gone 0-20-0 in conference and 3-27-3 overall. The Owls gave up more than two goals per game this season and finished 332nd of 336 teams in the country with just seven total goals in 18 games.
As a result, Nick Bochette was asked not to return next season, leaving the head coaching position vacant. Despite a strong 2020-21, he could not put together a winning record during his four seasons on North Broad.
“I leave Temple with a great amount of gratitude for the student-athletes who competed hard and the coaches and staff who worked tirelessly for the program the last four years,” Bochette wrote in the Nov. 1 announcement. “I wish nothing but the best in the future for all of Temple athletics and its student-athletes.”
Now, the Owls are left with some key players and without a coach to direct them. They will enter the offseason looking to change the direction of the team, and though it hasn’t yet shown on the pitch, they could be on the right track.
While the team’s record may not indicate it, the Owls were able to stay in the game before collapsing in the second half. In multiple instances this season, including losses to Loyola on Aug. 20 and Memphis on Oct. 22., Temple would start the second half by playing down a goal or tying before late opponent goals ruined any chance for a victory.
“We have to focus more on quality and patience in the final third [of the game], but that’s really in practice and we’ve been working hard,” said freshman forward Yazmeen Smith on Oct. 15. “We all have to trust each other and believe that when we are in the final third, take your time and find the back of the net.”
Temple’s poor play on both sides of the ball led to their downfall. When the offense couldn’t find success, the defense also struggled, allowing 25 goals during their eight-game losing streak that closed out the year. Graduate defender/midfielder Beky Myers scored nearly half of the goals by herself, finishing the season with three goals, including two in Temple’s win against Penn on Sept. 17.
“In our game, goals are really hard to come by and possession only means something if you make something of it,” Bochette said on Oct.13. “We can deal with not scoring as long as we’re creating chances and requiring our goalkeeper and defense to play really well.”
Temple has a lot to evaluate this offseason ranging from player usage to who should be the next head of the program, which they started mulling over almost immediately following their final game.
On Oct.15, Temple celebrated 12 players at Senior Night, which typically serves as a send-off for those leaving the program. The Owls will lose valuable pieces all around the field, including Myers and forward Nicole Sweeney, who combined for five of Temple’s seven goals and only in-conference goal in 2023.
Still, the Owls may see the light at the end of the tunnel. Despite his struggles in the win column, Bochette recruited a large number of promising underclassmen, and those players could be key for the future of Temple Soccer.
Goalkeeper Tamsin Bynoe joined the program this season as a freshman from the United Kingdom. Despite her lack of collegiate experience, Bynoe clocked just under 800 minutes in net and finished with 58 of Temple’s 109 saves, which led the AAC.
As senior keeper Taylor Vecchione, the other half of Temple’s duo of rotating keepers, graduates, Bynoe is expected to move into the starting role and a larger presence on and off the field.
“[Bynoe] gets up every day, comes to training, always brave face, ready to train and a great person,” Vecchione said on Oct.13. “She’s obviously a freshman, not from this country, and she came in, a great training partner to have.”
Smith also made an immediate impact this season as a freshman forward. In 17 games, Smith put in solid work scoring one goal on eight shots, including three on net. Like Bynoe, Smith will look to make an even bigger impact on the team next season.
Several returners, like defenders Phoebe Hollin and Jessica Wallace, could help with continuity next season, but a new-look Temple roster could have many different expectations. The Owls will now have to prepare for their spring season with the uncertainty of who will be on the sidelines for them going forward.
While the Owls did not get the performance they hoped for this season, there are pieces on the roster to be excited about moving forward. With a new coach at the helm, Temple hopes to flip the program’s trajectory.