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Tommy Meehan

Field Hockey

Field Hockey Set to Host CAA Teams Delaware and Drexel This Weekend

PHILADELPHIA - Two teams out of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) will visit Howarth Field this weekend, as Temple field hockey hosts No. 10 Delaware on Friday, Sept. 9, and Drexel on Sunday, Sept. 11. Friday's contest between the Owls and the Blue Hens is set for 4 p.m., while Sunday's game against the Dragons will start at 1 p.m.

Fans are encouraged to wear red, white and blue in support of Patriot Day on Sunday, observed as the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11 of each year. 

» Coming off its first win of the season, a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over La Salle, Temple field hockey looks to keep the momentum going against No. 10 Delaware on Friday at Howarth Field.
» This weekend's games are the third and fourth in a six-game homestand for the Owls, who play 11 of their 18 regular-season games at Howarth Field in 2016.
» Temple field hockey celebrated the grand opening of Howarth Field on Sept. 2 when the Owls hosted 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.
» The Owls started at 0-3 before their comeback win against La Salle. Two of their losses have come to teams now ranked in the top five as of the Sept. 6 NFHCA Coaches Poll (No. 1 Syracuse and No. 5 Penn State).
» Senior Katie Foran scored two goals, including the game-winner, to lead Temple to its first victory on Sept. 4 against La Salle. Foran was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for her efforts.
» Redshirt sophomore Maris Stern scored midway through the second half to tie Temple's Aug. 28 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 in all four games in goal so far for the Owls. She made nine saves against Syracuse and a season-high 10 saves against La Salle. Lilliock's 8.25 saves per game rank ninth in NCAA Division I.
» 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. 
» Five of the Owls' 13 returning players started in at least half of the team's games last season. 
» Many freshmen will be counted on to make an immediate impact this season, and the talent level is deep among the eight-member rookie class. Freshmen Maddie Merton and Lilliock have started in every game for Temple, while freshman Becky Gerhart has started in each of the last two games.
» Gerhart's three defensive saves in four games are tied for the lead among all players in NCAA Division I. Senior Ali Meszaros has made two defensive saves, and the Owls' five total defensive saves rank second in the nation.
» Delaware leads Temple 20-12-1 in the all-time series and won last year's meeting 7-4 in Newark. The Owls' last win was a 5-1 decision at home in 2014.
» Temple leads Drexel 18-10-1 in the all-time series, but the Owls have suffered two straight losses including a 3-2 defeat on the road in 2015.

Scouting Delaware
The Blue Hens are off to a strong start at 3-1 overall, including a 2-0 shutout of then-No. 5 Virginia on Sept. 4. They were ranked 14th in the preseason poll, but have now moved up to the 10th spot. Delaware's other two wins both came against Ohio State, and the Blue Hens' lone loss was a 3-2 overtime decision against then-No. 20 Old Dominion. Sophomore Greta Nauck scored four goals in Delaware's season-opening win against Ohio State, and has five goals to lead the team overall. The Blue Hens returned nine starters from a team that went 16-6 in 2015 and won the Colonial Athletic Association Championship for a third year in a row. The Blue Hens' season concluded in the NCAA First Round with a 4-3 overtime loss to Virginia. Senior All-American Esmée Peet was named the CAA Preseason Player of the Year after scoring 15 goals and leading the Blue Hens with 36 points last season. 

Delaware leads Temple 20-12-1 in the all-time series and won last year's meeting 7-4 in Newark. The Owls' last win was a 5-1 decision at home in 2014.

Scouting Drexel
Drexel comes into the weekend at 1-2 overall and will host Saint Joseph's on Friday night before coming across town to Temple on Sunday. The Dragons beat New Hampshire 3-2, but lost 4-1 to Richmond and 7-2 at No. 3 UConn. Drexel returned just six starters from a 2015 squad that finished at 8-11 overall and tied for second in the CAA. Senior captain Jessica McCarthy earned selection to the 2016 CAA Preseason Team and is the Dragons' leading returner with 12 points a year ago. Sophomore Megan Wiest, who scored four goals and totaled 10 points as a freshman, was tabbed as an honorable mention selection to the preseason team.

Temple leads Drexel 18-10-1 in the all-time series, but the Owls have suffered two straight losses including a 3-2 defeat on the road in 2015.

Inaugural Season on Howarth Field
The 2016 season is the inaugural year for Temple field hockey's new stadium. The Owls are playing for the first time on Howarth Field at the brand new Temple Sports Complex, and had a grand opening celebration at their home opener against Penn State on Friday, Sept. 2. The new complex just south of Temple's Main Campus was completed in August, and also serves 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.  

Tough Lineup for Temple in 2016
As of the NFHCA Preseason Top 20 Coaches Poll for Sept. 6, five of Temple's opponents are nationally ranked. The Owls have already faced No. 2 Syracuse (now No. 1) and No. 18 Penn State (now No. 5). Still upcoming on the schedule are No. 10 Delaware (Sept. 9), No. 4 UConn (Sept. 23) and No. 20 ODU (Oct. 7).

Temple Storms Back in First Victory
Trailing 2-0 at halftime against La Salle on Sept. 4, Temple's backs were against the wall for its hopes of grabbing victory number one in the 2016 season. Senior Katie Foran got things going for the Owls early in the second half with her first goal, and junior Rachael Mueller followed with a second to tie the game in the 49th minute. With just over eight minutes left, Foran scored the game-winner to complete the comeback and give the Owls the win. Freshman goalkeeper Maddie Lilliock made a season-high 10 saves, while senior Ali Meszaros and freshman Becky Gerhart both tallied defensive saves.

With three defensive saves over four games so far in 2016, freshman Becky Gerhart is tied for the lead among all players in NCAA Division I. With five defensive saves as a team, the Owls rank second in the nation. Freshman Maddie Lilliock's 8.25 saves per game rank ninth in the nation, and the Owls' 9.75 saves per game as a team rank seventh.

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