Temple looks to claim A-10 berth

With its back up against the wall, the women’s basketball team has traveled to Indianapolis for an important game against Butler tonight.

Temple (12-15, 5-7 A-10) is clinging to ninth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference with just two games remaining, and a conference tournament berth is in jeopardy if the Owls cannot salvage at least one more win. The Owls would clinch a berth if they were to win their last two match-ups, but consecutive wins against sixth-place Butler (16-11, 7-5 A-10) and third-place Fordham (20-7, 10-2 A-10) will be no easy feat.

However, Butler is coming off a blowout loss to a Richmond team that Temple beat handily on Jan. 31. The Bulldogs also lost 82-39 to first-place Dayton, against whom the Owls held their own against earlier this week. While Butler has locked up an A-10 tournament spot, the consistency hasn’t always been there this season.

Junior forward Daress McClung is in the midst of a very strong season, averaging 16.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game to lead the Bulldogs in both of those categories. Sophomore guard Taylor Schippers, 12.7 points per game, and sophomore center Liz Stratman, 11.6 points per game, also average in double-figures.

A clear advantage Butler holds over Temple is the fact that the Owls are just 4-11 on the road this season. However, the Owls have played their best basketball against formidable opponents and the Bulldogs have proved themselves beatable.

Temple will look to take a step toward an A-10 tournament berth at Butler at 7 p.m.

Baseball travels to Norfolk for series against Old Dominion

After taking two of three games last weekend in Blacksburg, Va., Temple (2-3) will travel to Norfolk, Va. for a three-game series against Old Dominion (2-3).

The Owls will open the weekend against the Monarchs on Friday, March 1 at 3:00 p.m. Coach Ryan Wheeler projected that redshirt-senior Dan Moller will start for the Owls. In the first two weekends of the season, Moller has started the first game of both weekends, entering Friday’s game with a 0-1 record and an ERA of 8.00 in nine innings pitched.

Temple will face Old Dominion again a day later on Saturday, March 2 at 2:00 p.m. Wheeler deemed junior pitcher Matt Hockenberry as his starter for game two of the three-game weekend. Hockenberry will enter Saturday’s game with a 6.00 ERA in six innings of work and has yet to earn a decision.

In the final game of the weekend on Sunday, March 3, the Owls will close out the series at 1:00 p.m. against the Monarchs in Norfolk, Va. Although Wheeler said he is eager to get junior pitcher Preston Hill another start, it will be sophomore pitcher Patrick Peterson on the mound for the Owls. Peterson is 0-1 on the season with an ERA of 11.25 in 4.0 innings, while leading all Owls in strikeouts with seven.

“What I am hoping for after turning in a good weekend is that we don’t have a letdown this weekend,” Wheeler said. “You can think you have arrived as a team after having a good weekend and beating a nationally ranked team, but we need to go out and continue to play the same way we did this past weekend and build on it. “

Entering play Friday, the Monarchs will headlined by an array of big name bats including junior first baseman Ben Verlander, younger brother of Detroit Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlander. This season, Ben is batting .333 in 9 at-bats, while posting a .556 slugging percentage.

“I don’t have any expectations from [Old Dominion], but I expect a lot from us,” junior first baseman Derek Peterson said. “I know we are going to go in there very strong. That’s what we have realized, every game is about us. As long as we play our game, we can compete against anyone and I think that we really showed that this past weekend.”

After an impressive display at the plate last weekend, Wheeler said he hopes his team can keep up the offensive production. Sophomore shortstop Nick Lustrino, senior third baseman Henry Knabe, and junior first baseman Derek Peterson headline what has become a dangerous 2-3-4 combination in Wheeler’s batting lineup. Against Virginia Tech and Holy Cross this past weekend, the trio went 18-for-40, while adding three doubles, two triples and one home run.

“I’m hoping for good starting pitching. I hope we play better defense and I hope we continue with our solid approach to the plate,” Wheeler said. “If we do that and the outcomes of the games don’t turn out our way, I will be happy because I know we are getting better and we’re building. I think if we do those things we should be in a position to win.”

John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

Tennis looks to rebound against Saint Bonaventure

Temple (1-7, 0-2 Atlantic 10 Conference) will look to snap a five-match losing streak at Saint Bonaventure (2-7, 0-1 A-10) Sunday at 11 a.m.

The Bonnies also sport a five-match losing streak, including three last weekend. They will be led by sophomore Marissa Brossard, who splits her time between the top two flights and is 9-7 on the year.

The Owls have not won the doubles point since playing Richmond on February 8. Juniors Jordan Batey and Alicia Doms, the normal top flight doubles team, will look to get the match started on a good note. The other doubles teams have been junior Yana Mavrina and sophomore Rebecca Breland, and sophomore Ama Osei and freshman Minami Okajima.

Breland was the only singles winner yesterday, and was also on the winning doubles team. She has won three straight singles matches, all in the third flight.

Women’s tennis travels to Buffalo

The women’s tennis team will take on Buffalo this afternoon at 1 p.m.

The match will take place in Buffalo. The Owls are 1-6 (0-2 Atlantic 10 Conference), and the Bulls are 4-0 (0-0 Mid-American Conference).

Temple has gotten off to a slow start this season, but the team is confident they can turn it around. A player to watch is junior Jordan Batey, who is 3-1 in singles play this spring.

Buffalo will be led by junior Tanvi Shah, who is 3-1 in singles play this season, all in the top flight. She also plays the top flight in doubles, where she is 4-0 partnered with junior Miranda Podlas

Temple looking to stay perfect

The Temple Owls (2-0) will host their third straight home game when they play Lehigh (1-0), at 1 p.m Saturday, on Geasey Field.

Temple will be playing its third game in eight days, following consecutive wins against Niagara and Rutgers.

Although the Owls’ offense was not as efficient as their season opening blowout, Wednesday against Rutgers, two late goals by senior captain Stephany Parcell and junior attacker Jaymie Tabor capped off the comeback in a tight 8-7 win.

Lehigh also comes into Saturday’s matchup following a tightly contested game. Led by sophomore attacker Carli Sukonik’s five goals, the Mountain Eagles started their season with a 10-9 home victory against Villanova.

Temple’s senior goalie Meghan Clothier and Lehigh’s junior goalie Alexandra Fitzpatrick both came up with late saves, which helped their teams in each one point victory. In 90 minutes of play, Clothier has recorded six total saves, while Fitzpatrick recorded seven saves, in her lone start.

Last year’s game, played in Bethlehem, PA, ended with a 14-5 win, in favor of the Owls.

The Owls will attempt to continue their streak with their second consecutive 3-0 start. With a win, the Mountain Hawks could go 2-0 for the first time since 2010.

Owls rained out again

Due to potential rain in the Blacksburg, Va. area, the baseball team has altered their schedule for this weekend’s games against Virginia Tech and Holy Cross.

Originally scheduled to play two games against both teams, Temple (0-2) will now take on Virginia Tech at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23. On Sunday, the Owls will play the final two games of the weekend in a doubleheader against Holy Cross starting at 11 a.m. with the second game scheduled for 6 p.m.

This will be the second weekend in a row for the Owls that the team has lost games due to weather. In the USA Baseball Complex Classic last weekend in Cary, N.C., the Owls were unable to play their final two games against Toledo and Monmouth because of snow.

John Murrow can be reached at john.murrow@temple.edu or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

Owls set for Virginia Tech, Holy Cross

Following an opening weekend that saw Temple’s final two games cancelled due to weather conditions in Cary, N.C., the Owls will be back on the field on Friday, Feb. 22 against Virginia Tech.

On Friday at 3:00 p.m. and Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Temple (0-2) is set to take on Virginia Tech (4-0) despite potential rain forecasts in the Blacksburg, Va. area. Before their second game against Virginia Tech on Saturday, the Owls will face Holy Cross (0-0) at 12:00 p.m on Saturday. In their final game of the weekend, the Owls will once again play Holy Cross at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24.

“Virginia Tech is an ACC club and they are going to be very talented,” coach Ryan Wheeler said. “They have had the chance to get outside and play some games and I expect them to be very tough. Holy Cross is coming out for the first time this weekend and just as we will, they will be working out their kinks.”

The Owls will be playing an offensively minded Virginia team that likes to show their muscle offensively, Wheeler said. In four games this season, the Hokies have outscored their opponents 34-12.

“Virginia Tech is going to swing,” assistant coach Brian Pugh said. “They are going to get in there and be aggressive. “As far as pitching goes, we have got to execute pitches and try to exploit there weaknesses. We have got some good information on them and we have got to do what we got to do. We have to get ahead in the count and make the hitters be on the defensive side.”

Having tied Temple’s all time lead in appearances on Friday, Feb. 15 in the 8-4 loss to Delaware, redshirt-senior pitcher Steve Visnic will look to set the Owls’ record for appearances in one of the team’s four games this weekend.

“I don’t think [Virginia Tech and Holy Cross] are anything that we cant handle as long as we play our game,” Visnic said. “We just need to stay focused on what we are doing rather than what they are doing and I think we will be alright.”

After last weekend’s tournament in which the Owls gave up 16 runs in two games, eight runs against Wright State and eight runs against Delaware, Temple will look to control their opponents offensive production this weekend, Pugh said.

“We have got a good challenge in front of us this weekend,” Pugh said. “I think we have a chance to do some good things too.”

Tennis prepares for Philadelphia showdown

The men’s tennis team (2-3, 1-0 Atlantic 10 Conference) will head to Penn (3-1, 0-0 Ivy League) for a match Wednesday at 3 p.m.

In 20 tries, Temple has never beaten Penn in men’s tennis. The Owls will look to break a three-match losing streak this season. The Quakers have not lost a home match all season.

Senior Kacper Rams (0-4) is expected to compete despite a sore shoulder. He will likely face either sophomore Jeremy Court (4-0) or junior Nikola Kocovic (2-1) in the top flight.

Coach Steve Mauro said he anticipates a tough match. This will be the Owls’ last match for 10 days, so they will be looking to go into the short break on a good note.

Temple faces must-win

The women’s basketball team is set to take on Xavier, Feb. 20 in a must-win game.

The Owls (12-13, 5-5) remain two wins away from clinching an Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament berth, and the Musketeers (9-15, 3-7) present the easiest match-up on paper in Temple’s final four games. Following tonight, the Owls’ opponents get much more difficult with the likes of Dayton, Butler and Fordham. Temple will also look to avoid losing two straight games for the first time in more than a month.

Xavier has had its fair share of struggles this season, but the Musketeers come into McGonigle Hall with two straight wins under their belts. This includes a victory over a LaSalle team that beat Temple by 16 points on Jan. 27. Xavier’s offensive attack is led by redshirt-senior forward Amber Gray, who is averaging 11.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Junior guard Ashley Wanninger and redshirt-senior forward Jessica Pachko each average 9.5 points per game.

At the very least, this game is an important one for the Owls in terms of their confidence. Even if they fail to pull out two more wins in their final four games, there’s still a chance they make the conference tournament with some significant help. However, a loss to Xavier on its home court this late in the season could break Temple’s spirit.

Temple and Xavier will tip off at 7 p.m. at McGonigle Hall.

Owls face Scarlet Knights in second game

On Wednesday, February 20th, the Temple Owls (1-0) will host their second game of the season against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (1-0), at 3 p.m. on Geasey Field.

The Owls and Scarlet Knights both look to continue their momentum, following big wins in their season openers.

Temple is coming off a short week, defeating Niagara last Saturday in an 18-5 rout. Eleven players scored goals against Niagara, including seniors Charlotte Swavola and Kellee Pace, who led the Owls with three goals each.

Rutgers is going into Wednesday’s game following a Feb. 10 victory against Manhattan, which ended 15-5. The Scarlet Knights are led by junior Katrina Martinelli, who recorded five goals and three assist, against Manhattan, and was named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll.

The Owls and Scarlet Knights played with two goalkeepers in their first games of the season. Temple divided their goalkeeping between senior Meghan Clothier and redshirt freshman Jaqi Kakalecik. Rutgers’ senior goalies Lily Kalata and Aimee Chotikul both saw the field, against Manhattan.

Both Clothier and Kalata recorded three saves and the win, in their season opening starts.

In last year’s matchup, played in New Brunswick, N.J, the Owls edged the Scarlet Knights in a 12-11 comeback win.