Women’s soccer stumbles in a pair of conference games

The women’s soccer team loses two games as playoff hopes fade.

A quick and decimating two-game weekend sweep has left the women’s soccer team 4-12 on the season and most likely out of playoff contention.

A 1-0 loss that could have gone either way on Friday against Xavier was followed by Sunday’s matchup with the defending Atlantic Ten Conference champion Dayton, who handed the Owls’ a 7-1 shellacking. The Owls are now 1-6 in the A-10 and are last in the conference.

“Friday wasn’t a bad game for us,” coach Matt Gwilliam said. “We battled hard and played pretty well. Unfortunately, [Xavier] played well also and got a goal where it counted and we didn’t.”

Gwilliam was referring to a goal scored in the 73rd minute by Xavier’s Marriah Witaker off a free kick right in front of the center hash.

“That was our one mistake,” Gwilliam said. “We matched them that whole game but we made one mistake and it cost us. Other than that one mistake, we played well the entire game.”

Gwilliam said the team felt good going into the Dayton game, but the outcome was not in the Owls’ favor on Sunday either.

The Flyers racked up 22 shots and scored seven goals in the game, while the Owls put up just two shots, one of them finding the back of the net thanks to senior forward Niki Conn, who netted her fifth goal of the year.

The loss to the Flyers most likely dashed the Owls’ playoff hopes as only two games remain in the regular season.

“We played pretty well Friday, but we just got outplayed and flat out outclassed on Sunday,” Gwilliam said. “I can’t really explain what happened. They came out to play and we didn’t. If you don’t go out there and battle for all 90 minutes you’re going to get punished, and we got punished out there [Sunday].”

Going into the weekend, the Owls were devastated from injury and it seemed to have an effect on the aftermath result.

“Our lack of depth is really starting to show,” Gwilliam said. “We’ve been devastated by injuries, and it’s just one of those things. It’s not easy, but we know what we’re capable of when we battle hard, and we just didn’t battle hard enough. There’s nothing really more to say.”

The Owls will close out conference play next weekend with Duquesne on Friday and St. Bonaventure on Sunday.

“We like our matchups going into next weekend,” Gwilliam said. “However, we need to be ready physically and mentally. We’re a little banged up right now and it’s starting to catch up with us. We just have to come together as a group and do all that we can to put ourselves in a position to win.”

Drew Parent can be reached at andrew.parent@temple.edu.

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