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Freshman forward Courtney Devine scored the only goal in the 4-1 loss to Temple. (Meghan Albrittain/ The Villanovan)

by Mike Dobranski

The women’s field hockey team fell by a score of 4-1 in a hard fought battle to the Temple Owls on Friday night.

The highly anticipated game marked the beginning of Big East play for the Wildcats, but they were unable to start off conference play on the right foot.

With a 2-4 record entering the game, Villanova was considered a sizable underdog to the 14th ranked Temple Owls.

The Owls asserted their dominance early behind a sophomore defenseman Rachel Steinman goal at the 3:54 mark in the game.

Junior forward Amber Youtz, the star offensive player for Temple, assisted on the goal. Youtz later added two of her own to help seal the deal.

The junior already has a Big East Offensive Player of the Week under her belt to go along with a team high 25 points this season.

On the Wildcat’s side, freshman forward Courtney Devine scored the lone goal in the 64th minute by putting in a rebound on a Kayla Kenney shot.

The goal, which broke the shutout, was Devine’s second of the season off the bench.

The freshman has provided a great spark thus far as a compliment to a struggling offense.

Senior goalie Alex Deikmann anchored a strong defensive effort by Villanova, notching nine total saves.

The defense has kept Villanova in a majority of its game while the struggling offense is working hard to turn things around.

After losing on Friday, Villanova has posted a middling 1.29 goals per game.

The offense is lead by junior forward Jessica Swoboda of Hanover Township, Penn.

Swoboda has notched three goals through seven games for a total of six points.

Devine is second on Villanova’s squad with four points, while junior back Maddy Harding leads the team with 26 shot attempts. This is Harding’s first full season after returning from an injury.

Villanova’s offense predictably struggled in the first period against a stout Temple defense. However, they managed to come out of halftime more focused and aggressive for the rest of the game.

After being outshot 14-3 in the first, Villanova turned the tides and outshot Temple 10-8 in the second.

While the final shot tallies did not end up in ’Nova’s favor, their second period effort will inspire a lot of confidence going forward in the season.

Winning the shot totals is a big step towards winning games in general, and if ’Nova can play with the passion and enthusiasm they displayed in the second period, they should be able to turn this season around.

The team plays again on Sept. 28 when they travel to University of Connecticut for their second Big East battle.

UConn, boasting an undefeated 7-0 record, will be a formidable opponent. Villanova will be looking once again for a huge upset in conference play.

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