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COLLEGE LAX: Temple Silences Cincinnati in Third Quarter to Clinch AAC Tournament Berth

By Zach Gephart , 04/18/24, 1:15PM EDT


By: Zach Gephart

PHILADELPHIA - With a spot in the American Athletic Conference tournament on the line, five different Owls put together a multi-goal performance to secure their spot in the postseason.

Entering Saturday’s critical matchup, Cincinnati was beginning to pick up steam. The Bearcats had previously notched two slim wins that included a 12-11 nail-biter against East Carolina and a 13-11 shootout victory against Ohio State. The two-headed monster of senior Lauren Ottensmeyer and sophomore Camryn Callaghan had become the story of their season, with the two coming into the game second and third in the AAC in scoring. Cincinnati got the best of the Owls last season 12-9, and were looking for a similar result this season. Temple, however, was coming off a 14-10 loss to formerly 12th-ranked James Madison University. Despite attacker Mackenzie Roth’s four-goal day that paired with junior Amelia Wright’s hat trick, the Owls yet again fell to a ranked opponent. Yet, they still had immense firepower up their sleeve. Senior Katie Shallow had been dominant all season, ranking third in the country in forced turnovers per game. On the offensive end, midfielder Belle Mastropietro had developed a reputation for her crafty scoring, boasting a 19-game streak with multiple goals scored.

Temple vs. Cincinnati Game Highlights by PSD's Zach Gephart

The Bearcats dashed out to an early lead in the first, but the Owls were able to stay within striking distance. After Cincinnati left the opening period with a two-goal lead, they piled on another score before their hot start got snuffed out. From then on out, Temple was at the wheel. The Owls began grabbing points at will, scoring eight unanswered goals across the second and third quarters to effectively put the game out of reach. This was headlined by a shot differential of Temple’s 30 to Cincinnati’s 18.

Despite the Bearcats shrinking the once insurmountable lead to just two points, Temple held on to snatch a 13-9 victory. With the win, the team has now ensured their spot in the AAC tournament.

“That’s the standard for us every season,” said Mastropietro. “Last season was such a bummer [with] the way it ended. . . so we’re definitely excited [to secure a spot in the tournament].”

Cincinnati’s Hailey Joy Simpson struck first, scoring a little over three minutes into the opening quarter. Less than a minute later, senior Ava Goeller tacked on an additional goal of her own that put the Bearcats up by two early. Midfielder Maeve Tobin was Temple’s first responder, converting an assist from Mastropietro to shrink the lead to one. Goeller and Roth then exchanged a series of scores before Callaghan cashed in one final shot to put Cincinnati up 4-2 heading into the second quarter.

Post Game interview with Temple's Mackenzie Roth #2 & Belle Mastropietro #12

Goeller built on her hot start with another goal early in the second, sealing a hat trick in less than 20 minutes of play. Yet, Tobin once again answered for the Owls. This time, however, she was followed by an avalanche. Junior Erin King would hit nylon off an assist from Roth, which was continued by a score from attacker Julie Schickling. Mastropietro would set up one final goal to Wright in the closing moments of the second quarter as Temple went into halftime with a 6-5 lead.

The Owls would continue to slam Cincinnati as the third quarter began.

Roth brought her goal total on the day to two off of an assist from Mastropietro just a few minutes into the second half. Schickling then continued the downpour with an unassisted score of her own. Mastroietro took matters into her own hands moments later, scoring two goals in under a minute to extend the Temple lead to five. After the momentum was fully in favor of the Owls, Callaghan hit the back of the net to finally end the Bearcat drought. Unfortunately for Cincinnati, Mastropietro scored yet again in the third to secure a hat trick in the third quarter alone. After Joy Simpson’s final score for the Bearcats in the third, Temple held an 11-7 lead.

Callaghan began a late Cincinnati push with a quick goal in the opening moments of the fourth quarter. Ottensmeyer then grew the Bearcat momentum, scoring less than a minute later to bring the Temple lead to two with ten minutes to go. Cincinnati then hit a wall after this point, being stifled offensively for the rest of the match. King, however, would score twice to secure her hat trick to finalize an Owl win.

“Last year [when] we were not [making] the tournament kinda stunk,” said Roth. “...We were definitely ready to win this and…secure our spot in the tournament.”

Cincinnati will look to return to winning form when they host Florida on Saturday. The Owls, on the other hand, will return to Howarth Field on Sunday when Ohio State comes to town for senior day.