The Owls were exhausted.
They escaped with a 2-1 win on the road Saturday against Bucknell. But No. 13 Temple had to come right back home to Geasey Field and play Drexel on Sunday, a team that only had Temple on its schedule for the weekend.
After 70 minutes of scoreless play, and nine minutes of overtime, the Dragons (4-3) left with a 1-0 victory.
“Our girls kind of gave it all they had yesterday,” coach Amanda Janney said. “We just didn’t have enough gas in the tank today.”
Temple (5-3) seemed out of sync from the start. Although the Owls outshot Drexel 10-2 in the first half, the team had trouble connecting on its passes, with multiple feeds bouncing over sticks, rolling out of reach or getting picked off.
“Sometimes it’s just movement or confusion of what’s going on,” junior defender Taylor Shronk said. “But we just have to clean up those passes for next weekend and make sure they’re on point. We’re in the right spots, we’re in the right places, but we just need to connect on the passing.”
To the Dragons’ credit, they didn’t give the Owls a lot of space either, with coverage that took away a lot of passing lanes in the midfield and marking that was, for the most part, successful in keeping Temple’s forwards to the outside.
“We were having trouble finding the quick early pass,” Janney said. “Drexel’s pressure did a good job to close the holes for us where in other games we were able to find big pockets. Today it was tough to find those open passes.”
“They did a great job to mark out our forwards,” Janney added. “They were not surprised at how good our forwards are, so they did a really good job to pressure them. I think, for us, we have to find better ways to get our whole midfield into the attack, where it’s not just the forwards trying to score for us, that we have all seven attackers going at the goal.”
Temple did manage to find manage to find its way inside the circle, though. The Owls were able to put nine of their 13 shots on goal, and drew three penalty corners in regulation. But every scoring chance was stopped by the Drexel defense and the eight saves made by senior goalkeeper Jantien Gunter.
Senior forward Amber Youtz came up with a chance to win it for Temple seven minutes into overtime, firing a shot from in front of the net that Gunter was able to make the save on.
Less than two minutes later, Drexel took the ball up the other way and ended it, when senior midfielder/forward Christina Conrad deflected a shot into the cage from sophomore midfielder Jessica McCarthy.
It was a play that redshirt senior goalkeeper Lizzy Millen couldn’t do much about in an otherwise solid start from her. Millen made four saves, including one on Drexel’s senior midfielder/forward Meghan Plank in the overtime period to keep Temple alive.
“[Millen] made some strong saves,” Janney said. “The tip-in goal they had was pretty unstoppable. That was a great goal that they scored.”
“She is going to keep us in games all the time,” Janney added. “But you can’t win if you don’t score. We just have to fix some stuff, make sure we’re putting three goals on the board and make sure we give ourselves a better opportunity to win.”
Temple will have back-to-back games again next weekend, against Kent State (2-5) on Saturday at noon and American University (5-3) Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Owls have gone 1-1 in three straight weekends, with Drexel’s performance on Sunday coming as a reality check of sorts.
“It’s a reality check in terms of every team is going to play their very best,” Janney said. “Bucknell put a really good game together against us. They want to beat a nationally ranked team, and I think other teams are going to really get excited to play us when we’re having such good seasons.”
“We need to find ways to just keep playing to our style of hockey,” Janney added. “Play Temple [field] hockey, know that teams are going to come out hard against us. We just have to shut them down earlier.”
Sunday’s game was dedicated to Phila Field Hockey Day, celebrating all levels of field hockey in Philadelphia. Both teams were accompanied by youth programs during pre-game introductions. Drexel was joined by the Mystx Sprouts from Feasterville, Pennsylvania and Temple by Filia Sports on the Main Line. The programs played in a scrimmage following the game.
Nick Tricome can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @itssnick215.