Finally getting the chance to play a home game — albeit in the rain, cold and wind (soccer weather at its finest) — after eight away matches, Temple couldn’t have asked for a better start to its District 12-6A opener against Bryan.
Michaela Stelzer provided an early advantage for the Tem-Cats with her first goal of the season, but Kristi Lynn Gorman’s free kick fundamentals went toward her hat trick and the Lady Vikings’ 3-1 victory at Wildcat Stadium on Tuesday night.
“We just have to keep our energy up more after scoring,” Temple’s Lenora Wright said. “But, we held our ground and we kept our heads up and played as a team.”
Gorman had a goal in each half on similar-looking set pieces. The first canceled out Temple’s early lead and the second put Bryan (11-0) ahead to stay. She then iced the encounter with a breakaway finish assisted by Camryn Lightsey in the 72nd minute.
“She’s had a great season so far — been a great leader,” Bryan head coach Chris Gibson said of Gorman, who has 28 goals this season. “She’s improved her play and movement on the field.”
Before the rain and Gorman’s awakening, the Tem-Cats (1-5-3) got on the board first with a well-crafted goal that started with Wright’s long, looping pass into the box. There, Madison Penick was first to the bouncing ball, out-leaping a defender and heading to her right to Stelzer. Unmarked, the freshman calmly volleyed into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.
It was just the fourth goal allowed by Bryan this season.
While Temple, which held Bryan to more than two goals below its season average of 5.7, mostly managed the Lady Vikings’ overlapping runs and through balls into the attacking third, it was a turnover that turned into the visitors’ equalizer in the 23rd minute.
After she was fouled trying to split a pair of Tem-Cats defenders, Gorman lined up for a free kick near the right sideline and 23 yards away from where Temple keeper Ericka Gutierrez patrolled her line. Gorman delivered a perfect strike that curled into the left, top corner for 1-all.
Gutierrez kept it there with a key kick save on a shot by Ava Speier in the 31st minute, and 4 minutes later rain poured down and ushered the players into a soggy halftime.
The rain stopped as the second half commenced. The wind, however, remained persistent, and the Tem-Cats had to play into it.
“That changed the whole dynamic. We struggled to get the ball across midfield,” Temple head coach Sylvester Jallah said. “It was a good game by them. We just have to get to the next one and concentrate on how to get better as a team.”
Gorman scored her second 8 minutes after the break, taking a free kick from the identical distance and angle as her first then choosing near post for the goal as the only difference.
A long clearance found Lightsey, who sprinted in behind the Temple back line then dished to the trailing Gorman, who slipped the ball into the net for 3-1.
“I got a little frustrated on how (Temple) scored the goal. We didn’t communicate. We all kind of stared at each other. But, I wanted to give them time to see how they would respond,” Gibson said. “So, I was glad in a sense that we went down because I wanted to see how we would rebound. We didn’t put our heads down, and I just liked how we responded.”
Gutierrez had four saves overall. Bryan had the edge in shots on goal 7-2. Temple next plays Friday at Pflugerville Weiss.