In the closest game of the day, Temple women edged Lee University 25-22 during the DII National Championship’s round of 16. The Owls will now see Shippensburg in the round of eight, a replay of the MARFU championship weeks prior.
As the score indicates, the game was incredibly close, but Temple was only down after the first scores were traded. No. 8 Karina Sundar put Temple up 5-0, but then Lee responded with a converted try.
“Lee had a fantastic fullback,” Temple coach Owen Jones said. “We went into the game wanting to do more with our tactical kicking game, but they shut it down and put us under pressure. Lee also did an excellent job of capitalizing on our mistakes. When we knocked on or had a handling error, they didn’t just get the ball back in the scrum – they punished us. Their scores came from our mistakes, which occurred after their pressure.”
After the two-point deficit, Temple stayed on top and enjoyed a 20-10 lead into the half. As the game wore on, it became apparent that Temple’s fitness level was going to play a major role in the rest of the second half.
“What helped us today, as well as the entire spring, was fitness,” Jones said. “At halftime we noticed that we kept beating Texas to the lineout, so we wanted to take advantage of it. Although we like to play a wide-open game, we played a little more of a forward game since Texas’ pack was tired. We kept better body position, were able to drive and keep running.”
By day’s end, prop Kristin Shedaker, wing Sarah Linke and flyhalf Rachel Bandura all scored tries, while the halfback added a conversion and penalty. Jones was also to give some time to Hannah Carr, who stepped in at inside center. She made an immediate impact when she came onto the field and set the tone of the backline’s defense. Carr brings with her experience from the 2010 national tournament, and has rejoined the team after an ACL tear.
With the win, Temple will now play Shippensburg for the third time this competitive season.
“It’s frustrating only because Shippensburg is only two hours away from us at home and we’ve had to come to Alabama to play them again,” Jones said. “But if we want to be the best team in the country, we have to beat Shippensburg, or we wouldn’t feel like we deserved it. Both of our teams are really good and the game can go either way.”
Shippensburg and Temple play at 11 a.m. in Mobile, Ala. – stay tuned!