Men’s tennis adds two recruits for spring season

The men’s tennis team will welcome two new student-athletes this semester: Santiago Canete and Sam Rundle. Both of the recruits are freshman, adding even more youth to a team that has one upperclassmen among eight players.

Canete, 18, comes from Spain. He has competed in five IFT Men’s Circuit tournaments over the past two years. These tournaments are run by the International Tennis Federation, and they are considered the lowest rung of professional tennis. Most professional tennis players spend some time playing in these tournaments.

“I expect Santiago Canete to be, right away, an impact player,” coach Steve Mauro said. “He had great results in Spain, where he was a top 200 player.”

Rundle, 19, hails from Perth, in Western Australia. Besides one doubles match that took place in December 2007, there is no match information on the IFT’s website. Even Mauro admits that Rundle is a bit of a wild card.

“I haven’t seen him play, but from what I’m told, he’s the best athlete on our team,” Mauro said. “He comes from a very athletic family, and I think he’s going to get better and better playing at such a high caliber day in and day out.”

Both players made a highlight video to send to colleges.

The team plays their first match on Friday against St. Francis (N.Y.) at 7:30 p.m.

-Evan Cross

Guest policy change allows for recruits

Temple has amended its guest policy to allow for athletic recruits to stay overnight when on campus for an official visit, among other changes.

The guest policy change, announced Jan. 14, was the second time the policy had been amended this scholastic year.

The university’s guest policy was changed at the beginning of the fall semester to prohibit non-student minors from staying overnight at residence halls, among other tweaks.  The changes were spurred by a recommendation during the summer from Temple’s Task Force on Institutional Integrity, which was created to analyze Judge Louis Freeh’s report on Penn State’s handling of the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal and how the university could better itself from the findings.

In the fall, Temple policies and procedures prevented student-athlete recruits from staying overnight on when on campus for official visits. The Temple News reported in the fall that the policy had caused recruits to stay overnight in area hotels. 

The new guest policy states that Temple athletic teams must email or fax consent forms to a prospective recruit’s parent or guardian which must be filled out before hosting the recruit for an overnight visit.

The change to the guest policy was first recommended in the fall because the university had no policy regarding non-matriculated minors staying overnight. The task force recommended the university review its overnight guest policy, and University Housing responded with an immediate moratorium on overnight visits by non-Temple minors.

-Joey Cranney

Women’s basketball faces tough road test at Duquesne

Coming off a heart-breaking two-point loss to VCU in its Atlantic10 Conference home opener, the women’s basketball team has traveled to Pittsburgh for an afternoon match-up today against Duquesne.

The Owls (7-9), finally putting a six-game losing streak behind them, played very well in the two games leading up to their bout with VCU, beating Western Michigan 68-41 and St. Bonaventure 67-59 to win back-to-back games for the first time all season.

However, the short-lived winning streak was put to an end when senior center Victoria Macaulay failed to send the game into overtime after missing freshman forward Sally Kabengano’s put-back as time expired. It was a loss that coach Tonya Cardoza called “tough to swallow.”

Things will not get easier for the Owls, as Duquesne will enter the game 13-3 overall and 2-0 in A-10 play. The Dukes are also 7-1 at home. Today will mark each team’s third in-conference game.

Duquesne presents a well balanced offense, beginning with junior forward Wumi Agunbiade, who is averaging 13 points and eight rebounds per game. Freshman guard April Robinson averages ten points per game, while senior guard Jocelyn Floyd does a little bit of everything for the Dukes. Floyd averages nine points per game, leads the team with a .496 field goal percentage, is second on the team in rebounding averaging seven boards per game, is first on the team in assists averaging almost three per game, and is first in steals with 84 total.

Temple, which is just 2-7 on the road, will look to sophomore guard Rateska Brown for another strong shooting performance, coming off a career-high 22 points in the loss to VCU. Sophomore point guard Tyonna Williams, who had issues protecting the basketball throughout much of the season, has just three turnovers the last three games. Macaulay going up against Agunbiade in the paint, two very capable centers, will be a match-up that may determine the outcome of the game.

Temple at Duquesne will tip-off at 2 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Pa.

-Tyler Sablich

Ice hockey hosts top rival UMBC

After failing to steal a win on the road from their top rival one-day prior, the Owls (13-10) will have a chance at redemption Sunday when they take on the University of Maryland-Baltimore County in the second slate of a weekend home-and-home series, this time in the more Temple-friendly confines of Northeast Skatezone.

Sunday’s contest represents the second of five critical, high-stake conference games Temple will face amid hopes for a late playoff push. UMBC (14-8) handled Temple with ease late in a 6-1 Temple loss Saturday.

After junior goalie Chris Mullen conceded four goals before he was pulled in favor of his backup in sophomore Eric Semborski, goaltending duties for Sunday will be a game time decision, coach Jerry Roberts said.

Game time is slated to start at 1:40 p.m.

-Andrew Parent

Bradshaw talks Big East meeting, remains optimistic for future

Athletic Director Bill Bradshaw shed some light on the meeting of Big East Conference presidents and athletic directors from Central Florida, Cincinnati, Connecticut, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Navy, San Diego State, USF, SMU, Temple and Tulane that took place in Dallas on Jan. 11.

Bradshaw said the issue of schools leaving, future expansion plans and the upcoming media rights deal were the main topics of the meeting, which he said had a larger variety of subjects.

Bradshaw said he expects the media rights deal to be a hybrid negotiation combining basketball and football media rights, which he said should be announced within the next month.

In discussing the importance of aligning itself with like institutions in the Big East, Bradshaw remained optimistic about Temple’s future.

“It’s about where we were versus where we are now,” Bradshaw said.

On where Temple stands:
“There’s no question that where we were, in terms of having sports in two different conferences, and where we are now is a much better place in every respect. The level of competition that we’re playing in a league with like institutions, with similar enrollments and commitment to athletics, missions of the university, all of those things in the league we’re in now are similar. It’s definitely a step up in revenue from where we’ve been, in competition, in access to bowls, all in an upward way.”

Why 2013 football will be positive:
“We were traveling to Ypsilanti, Mich., Athens, Ohio and DeKalb, Ill., and now we’re playing in Orlando, St. Petersburg, Houston, Dallas, Cincinnati, Connecticut. Clearly in football, the schedule that we have is a much better one. The access to bowls is clearly a more favorable postseason. And our access in the BCS has improved dramatically. Before Louisville and Rutgers left, the league was the sixth best Division I conference, and it still is sixth, even with Boise out and San Diego State out.”

On schools leaving:
“Louisville is coming to the Linc instead of Boise. The attendance for Louisville will be better than the attendance for Boise. There will be more people that come to see a guy that might be favored to win the Heisman award, their quarterback, who had a spectacular game in the Orange Bowl.”

If schools leaving are a concern for Temple:
“It’s about where we were versus where we are now. We shouldn’t make it any more complicated than that. It’s not more complicated. Where were we, in the league that we were in. What was our access to the BCS? What was our access to bowls? Two years ago we won eight games and didn’t go to a bowl because the league we were in didn’t have as many bowl opportunities. All knowledgable fans would say that, this isn’t just me the athletic director of Temple saying it.

We’re clearly in a better place if you look at any standard. You can’t judge by a standard that was two years ago or five years ago, we weren’t in the Big East then. The people who have had dramatic losses are Villanova, those people. They lost a tremendous amount of schools that they were playing regularly for years in basketball. Any measure that you want to mention, where we were versus where we are now is a much better place. Clearly. In every respect.”

On Catholic 7 leaving Big East basketball:
“They should’ve left. They should have probably left a while ago. I always thought the Big East was built on a fault, a fault that was going to have an earthquake sometime. Those schools should’ve gotten out much sooner. There’s really only one school in there that we’ll miss playing, and that’s Georgetown. I’m not sure Depaul, Providence, St. John’s or Seton Hall would bring anymore people than Xavier or Dayton did in our league. That’s really not a significant loss for us. The league has much more common denominators for the institutions now.”

On whether Big East basketball profile has suffered:
“It suffers for them more. If you’re Villanova you lost in the last seven years, Notre Dame, Connecticut, Cincinnati…it would have been Temple, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, West Virginia. We never played in that league. We didn’t lose anything. We were playing in a league with St. Bonaventure, Duquesne, Fordham, Rhode Island, Charlotte. That’s the league we were in. The league we’re going in is much better in basketball.”

On Jan. 11 meeting:
“It was a very encouraging meeting. Very terrific commitment of the schools to be better. We’re in the middle of media rights negotiations right now, and that’s all going very well. We’ll be signing some kind of multi-year agreement for media rights. It might be a combination of bids that people have made for the rights for basketball and football. I think it will put us in position for revenue that we haven’t been before.

The way it’ll end up, I believe it will be a hybrid kind of result. There’s going to be a challenge of when schools are coming in, and those kinds of issues have yet to be determined. There will be some revenues attached to who are actually in the conference. I would say in the next 3-4 weeks we’ll have something, it might be even sooner than that.

When ADs and presidents get together, there’s a wide range of issues that are talked about. But obviously the ones that are in front of us are media rights, potential expansion, discussions about what the league is going to look like when schools are leaving and schools are coming in.”

On Catholic 7 getting its own TV deal:
“The nature of money is in football. In most leagues 70 percent of media rights go to football and 30 percent goes to basketball, and those are leagues that have very good basketball. If you look at a league that has the kinds of schools that we have, if you look at the RPIs, there are more Atlantic 10 teams in the Top 50 than there are of the Catholic 7. If you look at Connecticut, Cincinnati, Memphis, Temple, they’re rated higher than most of the [Catholic 7] basketball schools. It’s going to be a very good basketball league.”

On remaining optimistic:
“We’ve been resilient. You have to look at it objectively, not emotionally or subjectively. You can take opinion and line it up against the facts. The facts say that where we are in football and basketball is a very good place, better than we’ve been. Do you anybody who would disagree with that? That’s important to know. We’re in a place with schools with facilities, with a history of major bowl participation, with attendance at football and basketball that’s at a better place than it’s ever been. We’ve never had all of our sports under one roof competing like we have now.

It’s about more than optimism. It’s about more than whistling about all of the movement that’s taking place. We’ve been resilient. We were very good in basketball in the Atlantic 10 for 30 years, a league that maybe a lot of people thought was beneath us. We were resilient to the changes that took place in those places, when Virginia Tech left, when Rutgers left. Pittsburgh was in the Atlantic 10. Villanova was in the Atlantic 10. There’s a lot of schools in the Atlantic 10 who left. Temple’s been resilient because of who we are and our commitment to non-conference games, to the kind of facilities we have, to the kind of coaches we bring in. It’s more than optimism, it’s based on our history.

Now we’re stepping up, taking all of our sports programs and stepping up. That’s just a fact, that’s not based on any kind of optimism or trying to spin something in a certain way. We’re clearly entering into an exciting era with like institutions that have similar commitments to athletics. If you look at the Atlantic 10 there’s a wide range of commitments, financially and in budgets. The Mid-American Conference was the same thing. I believe we’ll always be attractive. We’ll always be a player at the table for football and basketball.”

On the importance of aligning with like institutions:
“When we were in the Atlantic 10, our commitment to athletics was on the high end. When we were in the Mid-American Conference, our commitment was on the high end. Our market, our commitment, our facilities, our budget was at the top. Same thing in the Atlantic 10.

Now we’re going into a conference with schools whose commitments are similar to ours. We’re going to be playing in a league with those facilities commitments, commitments to coaches, playing big time non-conference schedules. We’re going to be playing in more nationally televised games than we ever have before, and that’s all positive. You can measure those things.”

-Joey Cranney

Chris Johnson’s Temple career ends with injury

After missing the final weekend of the previous semester due to symptoms of the early stages of arthritis in his back, senior forward Chris Johnson’s Temple ice hockey career is over, coach Jerry Roberts confirmed Friday.

After consulting with multiple doctors, Johnson was ruled out for the season with the arthritis symptoms along with a slipped disk in his back.

“We spoke about it a week ago,” Roberts said. “He went to a few different doctors to find out what the best course of action is. With college sports, you don’t want to jeopardize the condition the longevity of your back for a few hockey games in college. The arthritis is something that’s going to be a long term problem. I don’t anticipate him coming back.”

After a breakout year last season in which he was fourth on the team with 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in 26 games, Johnson has dealt with various injuries throughout the current season and was held to one goal and five assists through 17 games.

-Drew Parent

Ice hockey returns with home/away vs. UMBC

To date, there has not yet been a more crucial weekend than this one for Jerry Roberts’ squad.

“This is like our [NHL’s] Flyers and Penguins or our [NFL’s] Eagles and Cowboys,” Roberts said. “This is why guys go to the rink, for [weekends] like this.”

The Owls (13-9) face a home-and-home series with top conference rival University of Maryland-Baltimore County Saturday and Sunday. The Retrievers (13-8) will play host to the Owls Saturday, while Sunday’s contest will take place at Temple’s Northeast Skatezone.

Against a UMBC team that thrives on special teams and the odd-man rush, Roberts stressed the importance of sticking to the game plan and avoiding those killer odd-man rushes.

“In my opinion, our game plan successfully accomplishes two things,” Roberts said. “We’re aggressive, we play the body and it takes a toll on everyone. But we have a safety net in our offensive fore check. We won’t get many two-on-one or three-on-two rushes, but we wear players down and there’s still a level of containment in there. It works well against the weaker teams and when we play better teams, it’s hard to play odd-man rushes against us.”

Cutting down on the penalties will be crucial to maintaining Roberts’ game plan. Temple compiled 196 total penalty minutes through its first 22 games, a number that leads the entire Mid-Atlantic Collegiate Hockey Association and has the Owls well ahead of the runner-up in Liberty University with 161 PIM’s.

The high emotion that comes with big rivalry games such as these can come at a cost, Roberts said.

“In a rivalry game, it’s all about emotion,” Roberts said. “The biggest thing we’re going to focus on is to keep control of our emotions. Emotion is a very dangerous thing. You can use it for good just as easily as you can use it for bad. We need to have our guys to play with emotion and have that extra energy, but they can’t get too emotion and lose focus on the game plan.”

Junior Chris Mullen will get the nod in net this weekend, one in which goaltending will be arguably the biggest factor, Roberts said.

“Goaltending is going to be huge this weekend,” Roberts said. “Mullen’s going to have to step up and play at the same consistent level as he did all last semester. You might see a goaltender’s dual this weekend.”

Temple currently is on the outside looking in for the southeast regional playoff picture, sitting in 11th place. UMBC is sitting comfortably in the fifth spot. The first 10 seeds make the playoffs, making this weekend all that more critical for Roberts’ bunch.

The first bout in the two-game set will take place Saturday in UMBC’s Reisterstown Sportsplex at 4:30 p.m.

-Andrew Parent

Men’s track gear up for Navy Invitational

Heading into the Navy Invitational Saturday, the men’s track & field team will likely count on a budding sprinter and jumper in sophomore Darryl McDuffie to maintain his current hot streak after a career performance a week ago at the Gotham Invitational.

McDuffie was the headliner at the 168th Armory in New York last week, qualifying for the IC4A Championships in the high jump with a personal-best mark of 2.06 meters. McDuffie also posted a personal-best time of 7.28 seconds in the 60-meter dash to cap a successful afternoon.

The Owls will also look for points from a solid field-event core.

Freshman jumper Jamal Williams and junior jumper Gabe Pickett anchored the long jumping unit in New York, placing 17th and 19th with jumps of 6.41 meters and 6.40 meters, respectively.

“Jumpers such as [Pickett] and [McDuffie] have been really good and we’re looking for them to get even better,” coach Eric Mobley said. “We’re looking for some overall team direction and improvement in all of the different events. Some of our top athletes have been in field, but we’re looking for them to spread the wealth around the entire team.”

Andrew Parent

Women’s tennis opens season at VCU 4+1 Invite

The women’s tennis team will be heading to Richmond, Va. this weekend for their first competition of the spring season.

The other competing schools at the VCU 4+1 Invitational are Campbell, Morgan State, and the host, Virginia Commonwealth University. The Owls will play Campbell on Saturday at 11 a.m., VCU on Saturday at 3 p.m., and Morgan State on Sunday at 11 a.m.

The toughest test will be against the Rams, who are currently ranked 46th in the nation. Even though VCU and Temple are in the same conference this year, this will be their only match-up this season. They also met last season, and the Owls lost 1-6.

Each match consists of four singles and two doubles matches, all played at the same time. Despite the tournament setting, these matches will count towards the team’s record.

Coach Steve Mauro said seven or eight of the nine players on the roster will go to the tournament. Mauro expects to win two of the three matches this weekend.

Evan Cross

Gymnastics travels for Saturday competition

The men’s gymnastics team starts its season Saturday in Annapolis, Md. at the Navy Open at 2 p.m. Temple will compete against Springfield, Penn State, William & Mary and hosting Navy.

Temple looks to continue off of last season’s success in which the squad finished first in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference and 10th in the NCAA national rankings, as well as sending five gymnasts to the NCAA Nationals, including returning seniors Allan Malone and Alex Tighe.

This Saturday marks the 37th season that Philadelphia native, and American gymnastics legend Fred Turoff, will be the head coach of the men’s program. The Temple and USA Gymnastics Hall of Famer will look to lead the Owls to repeat as ECAC champions, making it Turoff’s 18th conference title in his tenure.

The women’s gymnastics team will journey to Pittsburgh Saturday for a tri-meet against Maryland, New Hampshire and hosting Pittsburgh, starting at 7 p.m.

Sophomore Taylor Rakus looks to stay in good form after an impressive display at George Washington last week. Rakus, competing for the first time since tearing an anterior cruciate ligament during her senior year of high school, aced her beam routine gathering a score of 9.600 in her first collegiate event, earning her the week’s Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Coaches’ Choice Award.

“We took this past week to work on our problem areas from the first meet at George Washington and are looking to go into this competition and be as confident and consistent as possible,” coach Aaron Murphy said about the upcoming meet. “The goal is to not count any falls to the team score at the end of the day.”

Sam Matthews