Coach Seamus O’Connor prepared Temple University’s women’s soccer team for conference play by resting some of his key players during the final two non-conference games.
Sophomore Bella Sorrentino, along with freshmen midfielder Hailey Gutowski and forward Gabriela Johnson made their first start this season for Temple.
“On Friday, we were missing a lot of starters,” O’Connor said. “We knew we were playing [the New Jersey Institute of Technology] without our full starting lineup, but we felt we still had enough quality. We had enough quality, but we just didn’t execute.”
The Owls started off the weekend by losing 1-0 to NJIT on Friday in Teaneck, New Jersey.
The game was scoreless until the 89th minute when Highlanders’ senior midfielder Arianna Gerber scored the game-winning goal.
“The performance overall [Friday] was disappointing,” O’Connor said. “I think the goal just kind of capped it off. We were just lacking in certain areas. Once we entered their half of the field, we just weren’t as successful.”
The Owls (4-5) then won against Wagner College (1-7), 3-0, in Staten Island, New York to close out the weekend.
The Owls started the scoring attack early. Junior forward Morgan Morocco scored her first goal of the season in the sixth minute on a pass from Gutowski.
The Owls’ next goal came when junior forward Jules Blank scored in the 55th minute. Blank now has three goals this season.
Sophomore forward Emma Wilkins added an insurance goal in the 72nd minute to increase the Owls’ lead to three. Wilkins leads the team with five goals.
Junior Morgan Basileo and senior Jordan Nash shared the shutout as goalkeepers. Basileo started the game and Nash relieved Basileo with 10 minutes remaining in the game. Basileo now has four shutouts this season.
The win against Wagner broke a four-game losing-streak for the Owls. Before Sunday, the Owls’ last win came against the University of Maryland on Aug. 31.
The Owls will return to action on Thursday against Southern Methodist in Dallas to start conference play. Temple’s nine remaining games will be against teams from the American Athletic Conference.
O’Connor said the Owls’ improved play against Wagner boosted the team’s confidence heading into the matchup against Southern Methodist (5-2-1).
“The fact that we played well and showed improvement in the key areas we needed to improve in before we go down and play a very good SMU team was the biggest part of it,” O’Connor said. “I was very glad to be able to see we were able to have the depth to be able to go that deep into our roster and still play very well.”