Written By: Max Green
Photo Courtesy of: Owl Sports
Resilience was the name of the game for Temple Women’s Soccer when they traveled to Cincinnati.
“I have to say that I believe our resilience has been a consistent point of strength throughout the academic year. This group of young women has shown up day after day, no matter what uncertainty or unfortunate circumstance unfolds before them. While there’s no doubt we showed a different brand of grit and quality today, I believe resiliency is a definite strong point of ours and that it will serve us well in the coming weeks,” said Coach Nick Bochette
Temple needed resilience after finding themselves down on the scoreboard early yet again. Cincinnati junior forward Vanessa Dinardo found the back of the net within the first two minutes for the Bearcats.
“Our propensity for early lapses has been rightfully punished and documented,” said Coach Bochette.
Temple dug deep in the second half as they had their first break early after the halftime period. That breakthrough came after Temple junior forward Gabriela Johnson was taken down at the top of the box on a breakaway, earning a penalty kick for the Owls.
“I thought it was a clear foul and a rough one at that, and I thought Gabi showed how tough she can play on after it. While some referees may have given a red for denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity, I thought yellow was appropriate since Gabi still has 18 yards to go and the goalkeeper to beat,” said Bochette
Temple freshman forward Lexy Endres stepped up for the Owls to take the spot-kick, which she converted, allowing the Owls to tie the game up only a minute into the second half. This goal allowed the game to open more for the Owls as much of the second half they were on their front foot and controlling possession.
Gabriela Johnson mainly headed the attack. She earned the penalty and created many other chances for the Owls, including The Owl’s second goal in the 76th minute of play coming off a cross from Temple junior midfielder Hailey Gutowski.
“Gabi was extremely pumped up to have gotten that goal for her team. She was quick to tell us how great the cross-in was from Hailey. Which shows what a team-player Gabi is. From my standpoint, Gabi was outstanding today and probably our top performer. Yes, she scored the goal, but she also linked our play throughout the game and was a huge catalyst to our most dangerous attacks,” said Bochette.
That goal would be the game-winner as the Owls were able to hold on for the final 12 minutes to secure their first American Athletic Conference win of the season against Cincinnati 2-1, improving their conference record to 1-2-1 and their overall record to 3-2-1.
“The team is rather excited, and they absolutely should be. That was a difficult game on the road against one of the top teams in the 2019 AAC Standings. The girls put in a huge effort today, and better yet, they did so in a courageous and attack-minded way.” Bochette continued, “Our contentment won’t last past the flight home, however, as we have another big test vs. SMU on a quick turnaround this Wednesday.”
The Owls will be back in action soon when the SMU Mustangs be come to town for a St. Patrick’s Day matchup on Mar. 17, at 7 p.m. The Owls will look to continue to gain ground by trying to secure their second conference win.