Mother Nature could alter softball schedule

The weather could play a factor in Friday’s game.

With storms in the area the Owls (17-16, 6-2 Atlantic 10 Conference) may have to push back their Friday contest with Dayton (16-15, 7-2 A-10) to Saturday. It would create yet another double-header.

Regardless of when the games are played the two-game series is pivotal for Temple in the conference standings. Five teams have a conference record higher than .500, with a sharp drop off after that.

The Owls currently sit in a tie for third with Massachusetts. They are a half game behind the Flyers and a full game behind St. Joseph’s. Fordham is 7-3 in A-10 play.

Temple already handed the first conference loss of the season to the Hawks, and will need to win at least one this weekend to stay at or near the top of the A-10.

Junior catcher Stephanie Pasquale is looking to extend her 17-game hitting streak. She’s hitting .600 during the streak with an on-base percentage of .639, as well as 30 runs batted in and seven homeruns.

If the weather holds Friday’s game is set for 3 p.m. Saturday the Owls begin play at noon, but that may change if there’s a double-header.

Rysheed Jordan chooses St. John’s over Temple

Rysheed Jordan, a five-star basketball recruit from Vaux High School, indicated he would be committing to St. John’s on Thursday morning, choosing the Red Storm over Temple and UCLA.

At approximately 10 a.m., Jordan Tweeted, “IM A JOHNNIE!!!!!! #ichoosestjohns” Jordan’s decision is only a verbal commitment; he’s not eligible to sign a letter of intent until April 17.

Jordan averaged 26 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds per game in his senior season at Vaux. He scored 32 points in Vaux’s 83-63 win against Johnsonburg in the PIAA Class A championship game.

Coach Fran Dunphy, who heavily recruited Jordan, was in attendance at that state championship game. NCAA rules prevent Dunphy from talking about recruits who haven’t signed a letter of intent, so Dunphy couldn’t be reached for comment after Jordan announced.

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

Baseball headed to Richmond

Coming off of a 9-7 comeback victory against St. Peter’s on Tuesday, Temple (12-16, 3-6 Atlantic 10 Conference) will travel to Richmond, VA for a three-game series against VCU (15-15, 2-4 A-10).

After 14 seasons of coaching experience in Virginia, Wheeler had grown very familiar with VCU during his time with William & Mary and Richmond.

“[VCU] is a program that I have known very well for a lot of years,” Wheeler said. “They are going to have good players and are well coached. This year has been up and down for them, but I expect them to be good.”

For the first match-up on Friday, Wheeler said sophomore pitcher Patrick Peterson will be the starting pitcher for Temple in the game scheduled for 6:00 p.m. In seven starts this season, Peterson is 1-3 with a 4.46 ERA.

On Saturday at 3:00 p.m., Wheeler expects sophomore pitcher Eric Peterson to start for the Owls unless he relieves his brother on Friday night to seal a victory. On the season, Peterson leads Temple with a 4-0 record and a 1.91 ERA.

In Sunday’s matchup scheduled for 1:00 p.m., Wheeler has yet to decide on a starting pitcher.

“I think this series should be a lot of fun,” sophomore shortstop Nick Lustrino said. “We will be playing in a minor league park, which is pretty cool. [VCU] has a good history, but we believe they are beatable. Hopefully we will go down there and win a few games this weekend.”

After scoring nine runs in Tuesday’s defeat of St. Peter’s, Temple will look to keep the offensive production going as the team compiled a four-run eighth inning. Offensively the Owls were led by Lustrino who recorded three hits and three RBI in the victory.

“I expect [VCU] is going to make it a tough series for us, but we are going to go out there and try to get it done.”

John Murrow can be reached at or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

Temple to host St. Peter’s

After dropping two out of three conference games to La Salle this past weekend, Temple will host St. Peter’s at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10 at Skip Wilson Field.

In Sunday’s matchup, the Owls used five different pitchers after redshirt senior starting pitcher Dan Moller was relieved after 2.0 innings. For Wednesday’s meeting with the Peacocks, coach Ryan Wheeler has not made a decision on who will start on the mound.

“It will probably be a little bit of a staff day,” Wheeler said. “Right now, I am probably leaning towards [sophomore pitcher] Adam Dian.”

Temple’s pitching staff with face a tough presence in the form of St. Peter’s senior Pat Farrell who leads the Peacocks offensively in non-conference games this season, batting .333 (12-for-36) in 14 games.

The Owls will also enter Wednesday’s meeting losers of four out of their past five games, winning the lone contest in a complete game shutout delivered from sophomore pitcher Patrick Peterson against La Salle on Saturday.

This season against non-conference opponents, Temple is 8-10, but is 3-0 against non-conference opponents at Skip Wilson Field this season.

“Regardless right now of who the opponent is, I am more concerned about what is going on in our dugout and how we are playing,” Wheeler said. “I told these guys we are not quitting; there is still a good part of the season left and we are going to keep working to try and get better.”

John Murrow can be reached at or Twitter @JohnMurrow12.

Women’s tennis to take on Villanova

The women’s tennis team will play their first on-campus match of the year, taking on Big 5 rival Villanova Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Student Pavilion.

The Owls (6-12, 2-6 Atlantic 10 Conference) broke a five-match losing streak after defeating Quinnipiac on Sunday. The Wildcats (6-10, 0-3 Big East Conference) also recently snapped a losing streak, getting their first win in four tries against Saint Francis of Pa. on Sunday.

Temple’s best players this spring have been junior Jordan Batey and sophomore Rebecca Breland. Playing from the first to the fifth flights, Batey has amassed a 10-5 record in singles play and has not lost more than one match in a row. Breland, playing everywhere from the second to the fifth flight, is 7-0 in flights two and three.

The Owls have not won a doubles point in the past six matches, despite the two main doubles teams – Bater and junior Alicia Doms, and Breland and junior Yana Mavrina – both having winning records. Batey/Doms is 7-5, and Breland/Mavrina is 8-4. Winning doubles would have swung matches against Xavier and Fordham, and the Owls defeated Qunnipiac despite losing doubles. If Temple can get the doubles point, its match will be a lot easier.

Pasquale, Dominik collect conference honors

It was a big week for two Owls on the diamond.

Junior catcher Stephanie Pasquale won Atlantic 10 Conference Softball Player of the Week while freshman pitcher Kelsey Dominik was named the Rookie of the Week.

Pasquale earned the award largely for her efforts in Sunday’s double-header over St. Bonaventure when she went 9-9 in both games with four homeruns, seven runs scored and 11 runs batted in. On the week she went 15-22 at the plate with five long balls, four doubles and 21 RBIs.

Dominik was solid on the mound for Temple, going 2-0 in three appearances (two starts). She pitched 12.1 innings, surrendering six earned runs. The rookie ace was also hot at the plate, hit .333 in 21 plate appearances with three homers and 10 RBIs. She plays first and third base when not toeing the rubber.

Both will look to continue their hot streaks this week in conference battles against St. Joe’s and Dayton. Pasquale is looking to extend her hitting streak past 15 games.

Former Owl Staley headed to Hall

Former Owls’ coach Dawn Staley, who was instrumental in rebuilding a program nearly left for dead at the turn of the century, has cemented herself among some of the greatest to play the game of basketball.

The winningest coach in program history will be a part of the 2013 Basketball Hall of Fame class.

While not nominated for her coaching prowess at Temple—where she went 172-80 in eight seasons and three-straight Atlantic 10 Conference Championships along with six NCAA Tournament appearances—and the University of South Carolina, she was nominated for her skills on the court preceding her coaching career.

Staley played high school ball at Dobbins Tech, in Philadelphia, before becoming a force at Virginia and eventually winning three Olympic gold medals with Team USA.

Staley responded to the announcement on Twitter, saying, “How incredible it is to be amongst greatness?!! I’m still I’m shock….and dreaming. Don’t wake me! 🙂 #2013HOF.”

According to, Staley told in February that she had two goals in basketball, “I wanted to be an Olympian and be a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.”

Now she has both.

Hawks, Owls will begin double-header tomorrow

The Owls (16-15, 5-1 Atlantic 10 Conference) kick off a tough conference week Tuesday when they host St. Joseph’s (21-3, 6-0 A-10) in a double-header.

The battle features two of the top hitting teams in the conference—St. Joe’s with .296 (3rd) and Temple with .295 (4th).

The differences between the two squads end there. The Hawks boast the best pitching rotation in the A-10, with a 1.78 earned run average, nearly a full run better than George Washington in second. Temple, meanwhile, is second-to-last with a 5.85 team ERA. The Hawks have allowed just 44 earned with 170 hits while the Owls have surrendered 163 earned and 272 hits.

But the Owls hold the advantage in team defense, with the top-ranked fielding percentage, .966 and 12 double-plays turned. The Hawks are ninth with a .952 fielding percentage and have only turned four double-plays.

The game also sports several of the top hitters in the conference. Junior catcher Stephanie Pasquale is hitting a conference-leading .485 with 47 runs batted in for Temple. St. Joe’s, meanwhile, has three of the top seven hitters in terms of average, led by freshman infielder Sarah Yoos, third in the A-10 with a .409 average.

The first half of the double-header is set for 3 p.m.

Gymnastics headed to Springfield University

No. 13 nationally ranked men’s gymnastics (12-6) will head to Springfield University for tomorrow’s Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championships, competition begins at 7 p.m. As last year’s conference champions, the Owls will look to retain their ECAC crown.

The main competition standing in the way of back to back ECAC titles will be conference rival William and Mary. In three meets against the tribe this year, Temple went 2-1, but the past month showed some disappointing performances by the Owls and their expectations going into the ECAC’s are in suspect.

We’ve been in this situation before,” men’s coach Fred Turoff said. “The guys know they can defeat William and Mary this Friday as they have twice after an initial-meet loss to them this season. However, William and Mary has outscored us in recent meets, so they have been hitting better than we have.”

Even though William and Mary has been outscoring Temple recently, Turoff still said he believes his team will win based on how the team has looked in practice.

He said, “Since practice has been going well, I have to have a positive outlook and expect us to prevail.”