PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Temple’s women’s field hockey team was stunned over the weekend when they were suddenly forced off the field. Picture this: a college football game interrupted and nullified in double overtime because the field needed to be used to set off fireworks before a women’s field hockey game.
Tough to picture, right? How about the reverse?
On Saturday morning, Temple’s field hockey team was deep into double overtime vs. the University of Maine.
“Those are the games we fight for and work for,” Temple senior forward Cristen Barnett said.
The matchup was held on the campus of Kent State in Ohio, when all of a sudden teams were given an order to evacuate the field.
“My first thought was that we are in danger, you know? We need to be safe, get into a safe zone,” Barnett said.
But they weren’t in imminent danger. The field at Kent State was cleared to prepare for a fireworks show that would take place before Kent State’s football game.
“It kind of sunk in on the bus ride home,” head coach Susan Ciufo said.
Because of its sudden cancellation, the game was reduced to scrimmage status — it wouldn’t count.
“I think that no female athlete or no female in general should feel that they are lucky to do what they do, or that it’s an opportunity that you get to go finish your game and to feel slighted, I felt for my team in that moment,” Ciufo said.
Kent State Athletic Director Joel Nielsen has since released a statement, reading in part, “In hindsight, a different decision should have been made to ultimately ensure the game reached its conclusion. We hold ourselves to a very high standard, and in this situation, we failed.”
The Owls remain determined, though.
“I think it brings light to a much bigger issue in athletics. So I think everyone that is a part of it is really proud to have handled it the way we have,” Temple senior forward Lucy Reed said.
The team is hard at it again, gearing up to face off against Bryant on Friday.
“It wasn’t necessarily Kent vs. Temple and Maine, or field hockey vs. football or fireworks, this was something that we felt was deeper and it was really for us — we view it, regardless if it would have happened to a men’s soccer program or not, it happened to a women’s field hockey program,” Ciufo said.
The fireworks were set off on an adjacent field.
On Saturday, Kent State initially offered for Temple and Maine to resume their game about six hours later in the day, but players say that was too little too late.