The women’s soccer team’s offensive woes continued Sunday as the Owls lost to Duquesne, 2-0, at Ambler Field. The loss leaves Temple (1-11, 0-4) winless in Atlantic Ten Conference play.
Following a scoreless first half, Duquesne midfielder Erica Carey scored four minutes into the second half off a centering pass from Shannon Rengers. The blast rang off the crossbar and past Owls’ goalie Tiffany Kasunich for Carey’s fourth goal of the year.
The first half was a battle for the Owls, who seemed to be outmatched early by Duquesne’s (9-2-1) speed.
A combination of rainy, sloppy conditions and hard-nosed defensive efforts led to a heated second half. Hard fouls and slide tackles led each team to receive a yellow card 10 minutes into the half. As the rough play continued, both benches erupted at hard fouls they thought went uncalled. After Duquesne midfielder Kelly Reed went down with a back injury over a contested header, play was less intense for the rest of the match. The Dukes’ Michelle Esposito added an insurance goal late in the second half.
Senior forward Stephanie Vietry said she was not surprised by the rough demeanor that progressed over the course of the game.
“Every year we play Duquesne, it’s a bloodbath,” she said. “It’s always 50-50 balls and a lot of pushing and shoving. It happens every year and it’s always a close game. We knew they just came off an exciting win and they’re going to take us light, so we came out tough. It was a tough loss today.”
Even though the Owls’ offense has struggled, Jones said the game was a benchmark for the season.
“That was one of the best games we’ve played,” Jones said. “We played with a lot of passion and enthusiasm. We were a little unlucky that we couldn’t score, but sometimes it’s not just about winning the game or scoring goals. It’s about getting the program going in the right direction. I think we got some confidence, and that’s what we need.”
Vietry said she saw the same improvement Jones spoke of.
“We had a really good game,” Vietry said. “We finally stepped it up as a team. There is more intensity. Most of all we are having fun again and I think that’s the most important thing.”
Despite the conditions, coach David Jones said he was pleased with the way his team played.
“I thought the conditions were going to be worse, actually,” Jones said. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought. Maybe that is what needed to change things, a muddy game where we get dirty. I thought we worked harder than we worked all season. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help us at the end of the day on the scoreboard.”
Greg Otto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.