Field hockey shuts out Temple, 1-0

Juliana Nikac and Kevin Higgins

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Photo: Emma Robertson

Photo: Emma Robertson

Quinnipiac field hockey put together a complete team effort in Friday afternoon’s 1-0 win over the Temple Owls. The Bobcats (5-11 overall, 3-3 Big East) held Temple (4-11 overall, 0-6 Big East) in check the entire game, as the Owls could not gain consistent control of the ball throughout.

As has often been the case this season, Quinnipiac had an abundance of penalty corner chances that they couldn’t cash in on. Throughout the first 10 minutes, the Bobcats had already accumulated six penalty corners, but none of them generated any serious chances. Temple’s goalie, Maddie Lilliock, only needed to make two saves on those early opportunities.

“They came out and they would read our set ups, and they did a nice job with it,” Bobcats head coach Becca Main said. “We took a lot of corners and didn’t put a lot in.”

However, around 15 minutes into the game, Temple turned the ball over around midfield. On the ensuing rush, Quinnipiac’s Michelle Federico moved to the left side of the field with the ball, drawing all of the defenders. That left room for Marisa Larkin, who, without having ever scored a goal, the defenders forgot about. Federico set her up with a sublime feed across the field, and Larkin fired the ball into a practically empty net for the first goal of her career.

“I’ve been working on it for a while now,” Larkin said through laughter. “So it feels really great to finally have accomplished it.”

The last 20 minutes or so saw no real action as the game went to halftime. Outside of the early penalty corners, neither team showed signs of threatening, both before and after Larkin’s goal.

The start to the second half was rough, as neither team showed any signs of life in a very stagnant 10-15 minutes to open the period. After that, though, Quinnipiac started peppering Lilliock with shots, and every time the Bobcats had the ball past midfield, it felt like they were going to put the nail in Temple’s collective coffin.

They never ended up doing so, as Amanda Blum seemed to have the best Quinnipiac chance of the half on a breakaway. She stole the ball and was streaking to the net with multiple Owls closing in on her. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, Blum stickhandled herself into submission, losing control of the ball and failing to even get a shot off.

After this, Temple got more aggressive, but general sloppiness prevented them from having quality chances. During this time, Quinnipiac continued playing their style of game to stymie Temple. The key was that they never backed off, as many teams with a late lead tend to do. Before the game ended, however, the Owls still managed to put one more major scare into the Bobcats.

With around 15 minutes left, Temple’s Maiyah Brown kicked her game into another gear. After getting the ball deep in her own zone, Brown took off, and no one could keep up with her. Passing midfield, Brown slung a long entry pass, and it caught the stick of teammate Lucy Reed, who was all alone for a big-time breakaway. Goaltender Livy Golini, who hadn’t been challenged much, laid out, but Reed sped right past her and shot. Seemingly out of nowhere, Bobcats defender Kiera Godusky backed up her goaltender and made a fantastic deflection of the shot with her stick, sending away a sure goal.

“That just shows how united we are. When I come out, Kiera knows to go behind me,” Golini explained, who completed her second shutout of the season.

Failure to score on a breakaway will often suck the life out of many teams, and that was certainly the case for Temple this afternoon. The last 10 minutes or so was filled with uninspired play from the Owls, and they never threatened again in the loss. Quinnipiac took control, and they dominated possession in finishing the game.

“70 minutes, 100 percent,” Main said when asked about the team’s performance. It was a great team win for the Bobcats, who travel to Lafayette on Monday for their final away game of the season.