NORFOLK, Va. – The Old Dominion field hockey team (8-5, 4-1 BIG EAST) clinched a spot in the BIG EAST Field Hockey Championship presented by Jeep after dispatching Temple (5-7, 1-4 BIG EAST), 2-1 in a conference contest at the L.R. Hill Sports Complex on Friday night.
Old Dominion has won three-straight conference matches. The victory over the Owls, along with Friday losses from Georgetown, Quinnipiac and Villanova, earned the Monarchs a spot in the upcoming conference postseason tournament.
ODU netted the game’s first goal in the 19th minute of action, as senior Erin Huffman redirected a shot from classmate Rebecca Birch past Temple’s Cristina Carotenuto to give the Monarchs the first lead of the evening.
The Owls responded with a goal of their own five minutes later, as junior Dani Batze shot one past Monarch goalkeeper Cam MacGillivray off of a penalty corner opportunity. Sophomores Claire Thomas and Nienke Oerlemans each earned the assist on the play.
Going into the half, the two teams were deadlocked at one goal apiece, though ODU had the upper hand in shots (8-2) and penalty corners (6-2).
With less than a minute left in the third quarter, Birch netted a goal of her own off of a Monarch penalty corner, which was inserted by sophomore Riley Taylor and settled by junior Marlee McClendon to give her team a one-goal lead. The goal was Birch’s team-leading eighth of the season, and proved to be the game-winner as both teams were held scoreless in the game’s final frame, giving ODU the 2-1 victory.
Birch finished the night with three points, one goal and one assist. McClendon earned an assist on each of the two Monarch goals, giving her a team-high eight helpers on the season.
The Monarchs offense held the advantage throughout the contest, finishing with 15 shots and 10 penalty corners against the Owls’ three shots on three penalty corners, but the Temple defense proved to be a tough unit to penetrate.
The Monarchs will be back in action in exactly one week, as they play their final home match of the season next Friday, October 25 against Quinnipiac at 2:00 p.m. The game also represents Senior Day, as the team will have a postgame ceremony to honor the seven Monarch seniors.