Owls and Minutewomen to compete for first

With first place in the Atlantic-10 Conference on the line, the Temple Owls (8-4,3-0 A-10) will travel to Amherst, MA to face the #13/10 University of Massachusetts Minutewomen (11-2,3-0 A-10) on Friday at 4pm.

Since ending their non-conference schedule with a string of lopsided losses, the Owls have started their A-10 schedule with three consecutive victories against St.Joseph’s, St. Bonaventure, and Duquesne. Temple has outscored its first three A-10 opponents 41-18.

In the three game span, the hot Owls offense have been led by senior midfielder Charlotte Swavola, who has scored 12 goals and three assists. Swavola’s 15 total points leads the conference.

Fellow senior midfielder Stephany Parcell has also found herself amongst the top conference scorers, scoring an average of four points per A-10 game.

After being awarded her first career A-10 Defender of the Week award, Meghan Clothier comes into Friday’s matchup average six saves and allowing 6.80 goals versus A-10 opponents.

Massachusetts has continued its dominance over conference opponents, recently defeating Richmond in overtime for the Minutewomen’s 22nd consecutive victory against the A-10. Nationally, the Minutewomen rank in the top ten of several statistical categories such as scoring offense, draw controls, scoring margin, and caused turnovers.

A-10 Player of the Week, junior midfielder Katie Ferris, will attempt to make Massachusetts history against Temple by adding to her 226 career goals and gaining sole ownership of the record for most goals scored in program history. In 12 games this season, Ferris has averaged 4.67 points per game, which leads the A-10.

Taking advantage of fouls and yellow cards will be key for the Owls in Friday’s matchup. Scoring goals during man up situations has been one of the major differences in the Owls’ recent streak.

In eight non-conference games, the Owls scored three man-up goals. In three A-10 matchups, Temple has a total of seven goals in such situations. In conference play, Massachusetts has averaged 27.67 fouls per game, which is tied for first place. The Minutewomen also rank amongst the top teams in the nation in yellow cards.

In the last game of the 2012 regular season, Massachusetts eliminated Temple’s chances at an A-10 tournament berth, defeating the Owls 13-7.

The last time Temple defeated Massachusetts in the regular season or postseason was in 2008. The Owls defeated the Minutewomen during the 2008 regular season and defeated Massachusetts in the A-10 tournament final, claiming the A-10 crown in Amherst. This season, the A-10 championship will take place in Amherst for the first time since 2008.

-Brien Edwards