Turnovers, defense, characterize season

Women’s Basketball- Barely a weak into the season there are two very important things to notice about this Owls team.

First, they turn the ball over a lot. Second, they know how to play defense.

This comes as a bit of a surprise because typically teams that commit a lot of errors have trouble holding the team off the scoreboard.

If you dismiss the team’s loss to Nebraska, 64-39, the Owls have held their other two opponents, both wins, to an average of 39.5 points. Temple turned the ball over 19 times against Montana and had 26 giveaways against Seton Hall.

This season they’ve allowed just .277 shooting, including .200 from three-point land. Typically an excess of turnovers—the Owls three opponents have committed just 42 turnovers to their 67—leads to easy buckets for the opposing team.

Not the case thus far for Temple, but that trend will have to change if they hope to keep winning.

-Jake Adams

Two Owls earn volleyball honors

Two Owls received Atlantic 10 Conference awards following a season which saw the team climb from the bottom of the conference to the fifth seed in the playoffs.

The Samoan duo of senior libero Chelsea Tupuola and junior outside hitter Gabriella Matautia were named the A-10 Libero of the Year and First Team All-Conference, respectively.

Tupuola also was named to the A-10 Second Team.

Matautia was second in the conference with 4.05 kills per set this season while leading the A-10 with .39 aces per set. Tupuola, who coach Bakeer Ganes has repeatedly claimed is the most important player on his team, lead the conference with 5.3 digs per set. She currently sits in seventh in school history with 1,385 digs.

Both players have been instrumental to the Owls resurrection this season, who stand at 8-6 in the conference heading into their first round match against fourth-seed Duquesne

-Jake Adams

Mahoney named USTFCCCA Regional Athlete of the Year

Off the heels of his first-place finish at last weekend’s regional race, redshirt senior Travis Mahoney has been named Mid-Atlantic Regional Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association, it was announced Tuesday.

Mahoney, who is the first regional champion in school history, is having a career year in cross country having also won the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships last month. His win there catapulted the men’s team to a program-best 4th place finish. Mahoney has already been named A-10 Outstanding Performer of the Year, and has been awarded the same title in track & field three times in his career.

Mahoney will look to become the first cross country All-American in Temple history when he competes in the NCAA Championship in Louisville, Ky., on Nov. 19.

Avery Maehrer

Three-point shooting key in tonight’s match-up

The women’s basketball team’s loss to Nebraska on Sunday, Nov. 11, ended a big run for the Owls. Prior to the contest Temple had made at least one trey in 100 consecutive games.

While in previous seasons the Owls thrived off three-point shooting, connecting on 31.8 percent from down town last season, this year’s squad isn’t built for long distance shooting.

The team right now has been out shot 52-17 from beyond the arc. Temple has connected on just four of those 17 attempts, shooting 23.5 percent. And only two players are responsible for those connections, sophomore guard Rateska Brown (2-for-5) and freshman guard May Dayan (2-for-4).

In two games Seton Hall, who the Owls host on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Liacouras Center, Temple has allowed their opponents to shoot 10-for-34 from down town.

While Temple relies heavily on getting the ball to senior center Victoria Macaulay, the Owls may need to find a way to open up their long-range attack to hand the Pirates their first loss of the season.

-Jake Adams

Football to compete in Big East West in 2013

The football team and other new additions to the Big East Conference will compete in the newly established West Division of the conference next season, Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco announced Tuesday.

The 12 teams set to compete in the Big East next season will be split into two, six-team divisions, where the winner of the divisions will meet in the Big East Championship game. Temple will be in the West Division along with other conference newcomers: Boise State, Houston, Memphis, San Diego State and Southern Methodist University.

“I’m not involved with all these meetings here, but for the beginning part of this thing, we will be on the Western side,” coach Steve Addazio said in a press release. “I’m excited to do that. I think that’ll be good. We’ll still have some of our regional games in here, and I think it’s a great new beginning and I’m excited for it.”

Each Big East team will play eight conference games per season, five within its division. That means Temple will have to head out west for at least two games against Western opponents next season. Home/away breakdowns will be announced after the Big East athletic directors meeting on Dec. 3.

Addazio said playing in western markets opens up new doors for recruiting.

“It’s exciting. You’re talking about some great trips and some great programs,” Addazio said. “You’re playing nationally. It’s a national perspective, and I think the kids will enjoy that. When I was at Notre Dame, we played a national schedule. I know that’s a bit of a difference scenario, but it was a cool deal – going to places you’ve never been. It can be very, very exciting. The future is really exciting. I’m thrilled that we’re a part of I,t and I’m looking forward to bringing this young team into that whole new beginning. I think it’s going to be nothing but growth.”

The conference alignment is likely to be revisited after the 2014 season when Navy will be added to the Big East, among other schools, the press release indicated.

Women’s basketball season begins at McGonigle

The women’s basketball team kicks off the 2012-13 season in the friendly confines of McGonigle Hall when the Owls host Montana on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The Grizzlies finished 16-14 last season, and 9-7 in the Big Sky Conference. The Owls finished 23-10 and 13-1 in the Atlantic 10 Conference before falling in the conference semifinals to eventual champion Dayton.

Temple returns standout senior center Victoria Macaulay and redshirt junior forward Natasha Thames. The rest of the team, however, is sophomores and freshmen.

The projected starting lineup for Friday’s game is sophomore Tyonna Williams at the point, freshman May Dayan at shooting guard, freshman forward Sally Kabengano at the three, and Thames and Macaulay.

Cardoza likely won’t decide for sure until Friday shoot-around.

-Jake Adams

Volleyball hosts La Salle with playoffs on the line

Sitting at 7-6 in the Atlantic 10 Conference the Owls host La Salle (4-25, 0-13 in the A-10) at 5 p.m. at McGonigle Hall with their postseason fate in their own hands.

Temple hosts the Explorers Friday in the regular season finale, looking to make the conference tournament for the first time in three years. A win and they’re in.

But if Temple loses that’s when things get complicated.

Dayton, Xavier, Virginia Commonwealth University and Duquesne are already in the tournament. If the season ended now Temple and George Washington would be in as well. Rhode Island and Butler are fighting for those spots as well, at 6-7 each.

The Owls are 1-1 over URI and lost to Butler on Sunday. They also lost to George Washington, meaning the Owls must hope all three teams lose if they lose to ensure they make the tournament.

The tricky part is if Temple, Butler and George Washington lose and Rhode Island wins. Because the Owls and Rams are 1-1 against each other this season they move to the second tiebreaker, which is head-to-head set record. Temple won the first meeting 3-0 and lost the second 3-2, giving them a 5-3 advantage in the edge in the tiebreaker.

Temple’s match against La Salle is the only A-10 game on Friday. If they lose they will have a long weekend waiting to find out their fate.

Rhode Island heads to Fordham on Saturday to take on the Rams at 4 p.m. George Washington travels to Duquesne on Saturday at 4 p.m. as well. The Colonials faced the Dukes once before this season, winning 3-1 at home on Oct. 5. Butler hosts Saint Louis at 5 p.m. The Bulldogs lost their first matchup of the season in St. Louis 3-1.

Obviously none of that matters if the Owls take care of business on Friday, but if they aren’t able to they will likely spend Saturday watching nervously.

This is the third matchup between Temple and La Salle this season. Temple swept La Salle in straight sets in the finale of the Big 5 Tournament in September. Junior outside hitter Elyse Burkert led the match with 12 kills.

In the A-10 season rematch the Owls swept them again, this time off the combination of junior outside hitter Gabriella Matautia’s 15 kills and Burkert’s 11.

Jake Adams

Mahoney places first at regionals, qualifies for nationals

Redshirt senior Travis Mahoney won the men’s 8K NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional earlier today at Penn State, just two weeks after winning the Atlantic 10 Championship.

Mahoney’s finish qualifies him for the NCAA Championships, which will be held on Nov. 19 at Louisville University. The race will mark his final meet as a Temple Owl.

Mahoney last raced in the regional event during his junior year when he placed 66th overall. He is the first regional champion in the eight years the program has participated since being brought back to the university in 2005.

-Avery Maehrer

VCU stuns men’s soccer, ends season

In a first round match-up of the Atlantic 10 Conference playoffs against No. 19 Virginia Commonwealth University, the men’s soccer team was able to keep the Rams’ potent offense off the board until the final minute of the game, but the Owls’ effort wasn’t enough.

With 44 seconds remaining in the game, VCU sophomore midfielder Mario Herrera Meraz stunned the Owls with a game-winning goal, ending Temple’s season.

Sophomore goalie Dan Scheck received his fourth straight start in the opening round. Though VCU controlled the ball for much of the game, Scheck helped eliminate any offensive opportunity until the game’s final minute. After Meraz’s goal, a defeated Scheck pounded the turf in frustration.

While it was Meraz who led the Rams in shots, forward Jason Johnson gave the Owls fits all night. Johnson, fresh off his newly acquired Atlantic 10 Conference Offensive Player of the Year award, drew special attention from Temple’s defense throughout all 90 minutes of the opener.

About midway through the second half, Johnson went down in a heap following a VCU corner kick. After being helped off the field, Johnson was immediately substituted back into the game. No foul was called.

The Owls, who struggled offensively all night, mustered very few shots. Senior midfielder Cody Calafiore led Temple in shots with three, one of which landed on net.

The first half was back and forth for both squads, with neither team having any significant scoring chances. The second half was a different story, however. VCU heavily controlled possession of the ball, not allowing Temple to get anything remotely going on offense. As the clock dwindled down to the final minutes of regulation, the Rams picked up the tempo, making it clear they had no intention of going to overtime with the underdog Owls.

VCU’s senior goalie Clark Hankins pushed the ball up field, setting his squad in motion to notch the game-winner. Hankins needed only two saves to record the shutout.

Temple coach Dave MacWilliams and players weren’t made available for comment following the loss.

With the loss, the Owls 2012 season is officially in the books. This years A-10 tournament features three nationally ranked squads, and another that was just recently ousted from the Top 25. Temple’s struggle to beat above .500 teams continued beyond the regular season.

-Tyler Sablich

Three Owls earn honors for men’s soccer

Roughly 24 hours before the men’s soccer team’s first round Atlantic 10 Conference tournament commences, three Owls have earned conference honors.

Freshman midfielder Jared Martinelli was named A-10 Conference Rookie of the Year and made the All-Rookie Team. Martinelli’s 28 points this year ranks 8th all-time in a season for Temple. He is Temple’s first A-10 Rookie of the Year since Chris Cotton won in 1990. With nine goals and 10 assists, Martinelli is one goal away from becoming Temple’s first 10-goal/10-assist scorer in program history.

Other postseason awards amassed by Temple came in the form of senior midfielder Cody Calafiore and junior midfielder Vaughn Spurrier.

Calafiore has been tabbed to the All-Conference second team. Back in 2010, he was named to the All-Conference first team. In 2012, Calafiore ranks second on the team in points with 14 – four goals and six assists.

Spurrier has been named to the A-10 All-Academic team for the first time in his collegiate career after amounting a 3.65 grade point average in biophysics. He and Martinelli have combined for the most assists in a single season in Temple history with 20 helpers.

Fresh off their newly announced achievements, the Owls will face No. 19 Virginia Commonwealth University Thursday at 5 p.m. in Charlotte, N.C. in the first round of the A-10 Tournament. Temple will have a tough task containing junior forward Jason Johnson. Johnson was named A-10 Offensive Player of the Year after totaling 32 points — 13 goals and six assists.

-Tyler Sablich