Written By: Max Green
Photo Courtesy of: OwlSports.com / Don Felice
Following a strong performance on the road against Tulsa, Temple hoped to keep up their winning ways against Houston. The Owls seemed to get behind before they could even find their footing.
It started with Houston immediately testing Temple junior goalkeeper Kamryn Stablein early and often. This included two consecutive corner kicks that would lead to the first goal of the game. Houston sophomore midfielder Madison Gear found herself free at the top of the 18-yard box and made perfect contact with the ball volleying it into the back of the net.
“Yeah, credit to Houston for being really well prepared and scoring a very good goal early on. I don’t believe we did enough to disrupt them and cause them discomfort in the first half and allowed them to be a little too comfortable,” said Coach Nick Bochette.
The attacking onslaught of the cougars would continue as shortly after the goal, Temple keeper Kamryn Stablein had to make a double save. The first attempt came off a breakaway that would bounce right into the path of Gear for a chance, but Stablein would quickly move to make the save on the header before being cleared off the line by the Owls.
After that, the game would settle down for a bit before Houston had another breakthrough before halftime. Madison Gear would send a through ball that would make its way between the Temple defense right onto the foot of Houston freshman midfielder Caitlyn Matthews who would push the ball past Kamryn Stablein, giving the Cougars a 2-0 lead going into halftime.
The Owls may have seemed less dangerous in their attack because of a critical injury to one of their main attacking forces. Junior forward Gabriela Johnson is still out recovering from the injury she suffered against Tulsa.
“Yes, Gabi wasn’t available due to the injury sustained in Tulsa. We received good news on that injury, but she wasn’t ready for today. Gabi is an important player for us, and any time you lose someone as dynamic and dangerous as Gabi is challenging,” said Bochette. “We believe in our entire group, though, and I thought we did a very good job in the second half creating chances through our attacking players.”
But the Owls would come out for the second half with a second wind. The Owls came out motivated, determined and were pushing for multiple goals.
“We made some significant changes to come out in the second half, and I thought the girls were good out there in the second half. We really asserted ourselves and gave them very little as we pushed to get a goal. I thought we were unlucky not to score, and their goalkeeper made a couple of fantastic saves to preserve her shutout. It’s a shame we didn’t get something out of that 2nd half because I thought we were very good,” said Bochette.
Three minutes before the final whistle blew, Houston redshirt-junior forward Zionah Brown would assist senior forward Jazmin Grant for Houston’s third goal of the match, which would wrap up the game in favor of the Cougars.
“Their 3rd goal meant very little to me – we had been pushing and attacking the entire half, and we had to leave ourselves vulnerable for one of their very dangerous forwards to get in behind us (which she did),” said Coach Bochette.
It looks like this will conclude the Temple women’s soccer season as it seems unlikely for a makeup game against Drexel. They are now a long shot at making both the AAC and NCAA tournaments, but Coach Bochette does not view this year as a failure:
“Unfortunately, it looks very likely to be our last match of the year. For me, however, the year has been a significant success and our student-athletes have so much to be proud of. Since August, every training session has posed a unique challenge, and every match we successfully competed in was a product of hard work in the face of constant uncertainty and literal round-the-clock discipline. Having a season in which we were prepared and healthy to compete in every scheduled competition is a massive success in and of itself,” said Coach Bochette.
Temple Women’s Soccer will be back in the Fall and ready to compete again. The Owls will take this season as a learning experience and improve themselves next season.