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Tommy Meehan

Field Hockey

Field Hockey Will Face No. 18 Penn State in Friday's Home Opener

PHILADELPHIA - In the first-ever game at the brand-new Howarth Field, Temple field hockey will face No. 18 Penn State on Friday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. Many alumnae are expected to attend the grand opening of Howarth Field at the Temple Sports Complex, and Cherifa and Greg Howarth will be recognized for their $500,000 gift prior to the start of the game.

» Temple field hockey celebrates the grand opening of Howarth Field on Friday when the Owls host No. 18 Penn State. The field is named in recognition of a $500,000 gift from field hockey alum Cherifa (Nouri) Howarth and her husband, Greg.
» Friday's game is the first in a six-game homestand for Temple, and the Owls play 11 of 18 regular-season games at home.
» Temple is coming off an 0-2 weekend to start the season, falling 8-0 to No. 2 and defending national champion Syracuse, and losing by a narrow score of 2-1 to city rival Saint Joseph's.
» Redshirt sophomore Maris Stern scored midway through the second half to tie the game at Saint Joseph's, but the Hawks made it 2-1 before halftime. Despite 10 second-half penalty corners and out-shooting SJU 11-5 in the latter period, the Owls were unable to come up with the equalizer.
» Freshman Maddie Lilliock has started both games in goal so far for the Owls, playing over 60 minutes in each contest. Lilliock made nine saves against Syracuse, and six against Saint Joseph's.
» Coming off an 8-13 season and a second-straight appearance in the BIG EAST Championship game, Temple has a new look in 2016 after the loss of 10 seniors to graduation. 
» The Owls, who received six votes in the NFHCA Preseason Top 20 Poll, are led by four seniors in Katie Foran, Paige Gross, Ali Meszaros and Michelle Walsh
» Five of the Owls' 13 returning players started in at least half of the team's games last season. 
» Sarah Keer, returning for her fourth season as a redshirt junior, and junior Rachael Mueller, scored four goals apiece to tie for fourth on the team in 2015. 
» Gross, juniors Maiyah Brown and Hattie Kuhns and redshirt sophomore Maris Stern all notched two goals apiece last year.
» Many freshmen will be counted on to make an immediate impact, and the talent level is deep among the eight-member rookie class. Freshmen Maddie Merton and Maddie Lilliock have started in both games for Temple.
» This year marks the third in a row in which Temple faced the defending national champion. The Owls play UConn as part of their BIG EAST Conference schedule, and the Huskies were national champs in both 2013 and 2014.
» Penn State leads the all-time series 33-7-2 against the Owls. The Nittany Lions have taken the last two meetings including a 2-0 decision a year ago. In 2013, the Owls upset the Lions 3-0 in State College.
» Temple leads La Salle 31-4-1 in the all-time series, and has won three straight. The last time the teams met was in 2014, with the Owls winning 5-1.

The 2016 season will serve as the inaugural year for Temple field hockey's new stadium. The Owls will play for the first time on Howarth Field at the brand new Temple Sports Complex when they take on #18 Penn State at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2. The new complex just south of Temple's Main Campus was completed in August, and will also serve as the home for lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, and women's track & field. 

The $22 million project, started in September 2015, features two playing fields. The space for field hockey and lacrosse, at the southern end of the property by 13th Street and Girard Avenue, is named Howarth Field in recognition of a $500,000 gift from former field hockey student-athlete Cherifa Howarth, '98, and her husband, Greg.  

Penn State, ranked 18th in the NFHCA Preseason Coaches Poll, is sure to move up in the rankings after a strong opening week. The Nittany Lions took down No. 20 Old Dominion 6-2 before going on to shut out No. 5 Virginia, 3-0. PSU is coming off a 9-10 season in 2015, falling to Michigan in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Junior Moira Putsch leads the Lions with two goals and three assists so far this season. Putsch is active for her first season with PSU after transferring from Maryland in 2015 and sitting out last season due to injury. The Lions also returned 10 starters from a year ago including leading scorer and senior Brooke Birosik (11 goals, 3 assists in 2015). Penn State leads Temple 33-7-2 in the all-time series and has taken the last two meetings including a 2-0 decision a year ago. In 2013, the Owls upset the Lions 3-0 in State College.

The NFHCA Preseason Top 20 Coaches Poll was released on Aug. 23 and had six of Temple's opponents in the rankings. The Owls have already faced No. 2 Syracuse, and will play No. 18 Penn State on Friday. Still upcoming on the schedule is No. 14 Delaware (Sept. 9), No. 3 UConn (Sept. 23), No. 20 ODU (Oct. 7) and No. 13 Liberty (Oct. 28).

The first weekend of the season saw Temple pick up a pair of losses at the Conference Cup Tournament hosted by Saint Joseph's University. The Owls opened against No. 2 Syracuse, keeping the game scoreless early on but eventually falling 8-0  to the defending national champs. 

Temple lost 2-1 to city rival Saint Joseph's two days later, despite dominating offensively in the second half. After the Owls tied the game 1-1 in the first half, the Hawks picked up a second goal four minutes before halftime, and the score stuck through to the end of the game. Temple had 10 second-half penalty corners and out-shot SJU 11-5 in the half, but could not get one past the Hawks' goalkeeper.

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