- An incredible game saw an upset bid fall just short for Temple lacrosse in a 10-9 loss at No. 2 Florida on Saturday afternoon in the Owls' BIG EAST opener. Temple (8-3, 0-1) never trailed by more than two goals against the Gators (11-1, 2-0), but the Owls were unable to score the last equalizer they needed in the final four minutes.
"We are disappointed, but in a really good way," said Temple head coach Bonnie Rosen
. "It was a really well-played team game and a great step for us a program. Our goal was to give ourselves a chance to win it at the end, and we did exactly that, we just didn't finish it."
The game was the fourth all-time between Temple and Florida, and easily the Owls' best showing of the four. They dominated on the draw, finishing with a 13-8 edge in draw controls, and were able to play at their pace for much of the game, holding the ball for long possessions and being extremely efficient on attack.
"We really stuck to the game plan," said Rosen, "which was to be patient with our offense and weather their scoring. We knew they could score at times at will and we were prepared for that. We stayed focused and stuck to our game plan, and that allowed us to stay grounded and play a solid game. I'm really happy with how we played as a team today."Kirstie Connor
notched a hat trick to lead Temple, scoring all three of her goals in the first half. Brenda McDermott
scored twice, while Megan Tiernan
, Nicole Tiernan
, Rachel Schwaab
and Megan Pinkerton
all notched one goal apiece for the Owls. Temple held the Gators to three goals below their scoring average so far this season, getting four big saves from Jaqi Kakalecik
in the cage.
Two and a half minutes into the game the Owls found themselves down 2-0, but it proved not to be an indication of how the rest of the period would play out. Nicole Tiernan
took Temple's first shot of the game at 23:36 of the first half and made it count to get the Owls on the board, but Florida answered just 40 seconds later on a free position opportunity.
Temple slowed the pace on its next possession, taking well over five minutes on offense but finally scoring after the long attacking set when Schwaab rolled into the crease and got another one past Florida goalkeeper Mary-Sean Wilcox.
Connor's first goal tied the game just before the midway point of the half, as she scored on a pass from Morgan Glassford
after also earning the draw control for the Owls. The Gators took a 4-3 lead, but Temple would once again answer with a pair of goals.
Connor made it 4-4 with a strong move inside at 12:29, and two minutes later McDermott gave the Owls their first lead at 5-4.
Florida put up two goals within 30 seconds of each other to re-take the lead, 6-5 at 7:56, but Connor completed her hat trick in just the first half with a goal at 6:30 to tie the game at 6-6.
Lindsey Ronbeck scored a second goal for the Gators at 5:19, but the game was tied yet again with 2:39 remaining on a free position goal for Megan Tiernan
. With just 13 seconds left, Florida scored its final goal of the half and was able to take an 8-7 lead into the break.
The second half provided little in the way of offense compared to the first. Temple held the first possession for two and a half minutes, but did not score and Florida took a 9-7 lead on a free position goal at 26:51.
Close to six minutes later, a pass from McDermott to Pinkerton put the Owls within one, and McDermott would later score her second goal at 13:32 to tie the game after an extremely long possession for Temple.
Kakalecik came up with a big save with 8:45 remaining to preserve the tie, but the Gators came up with the lone goal of the final 13 and a half minutes when Ronbeck completed the hat trick with 4:16 remaining. The Owls lost the ensuing draw control but got one more chance on attack thanks to a caused turnover by Maddie McTigue
with 2:47 remaining. They were unable to get a shot off however, and lost the ball for good with just under a minute to go.
"So far this season, we hadn't been in this situation before with a one-goal game," said Rosen. "I gave Rachel Schwaab
the green light to look for a 1 v 1 scoring opportunity, and unfortunately we turned the ball over before she got that chance. But I'm really proud of how she handled the pressure all day long, they really focused on her, and there is no one I'd rather have with the ball in that situation."
Temple will look for its first conference win next Saturday, April 9 when the Owls host Vanderbilt at 1 p.m.Box Score (PDF)