Owls to face Houston, SMU

The  Owls will begin conference competition when they host the Houston Cougars and Southern Methodist Mustangs at the Ambler Sports Complex this week.

Temple will face American Athletic Conference opponent Houston (1-2-3) on Thursday at 4 p.m. and it will play its second conference game against SMU on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Though it has earned a winning non-conference record, after their 2-1 loss to Delaware, Temple (5-3-1) has gone 1-3 at home this season. Temple has yet to allow a goal on the road, but in their first four home games, the Owls have allowed four total goals and been shutout twice.

Freshman midfielder Ingrid Melo has scored the Owls’ lone goal in the past two weeks and leads the team with three scores this year. Sophomore midfielder Kelly Farrell has recorded a team-high three assist this season.

Sophomore Shauni Kerkhoff and the defense will try to rebound from their first game allowing multiple goals since 2012. In 2012, Temple registered a 0-12-1 record when allowing at least one goal, and in 2013, the Owls are 0-3 in such games.

The Owls’ weekend opponents present contrasting obstacles, with Houston boasting one of the nation’s top defenses and SMU ranking at the top of the American on offense.

In six games, the Cougars have recorded a conference-low three goals but have allowed five goals which is second in the conference behind Temple and USF. The Houston player to watch will be senior goalkeeper Cami Koski who is third in the nation in save percentage (.952), fourth in saves per game (10), and has recorded two shutouts.

For SMU, the Mustangs’ offense has averaged 2.62 goals per game which is the most in the conference. Redshirt junior forward Shelby Redman has led the team in scoring, recording six goals and two assists. Senior defender Courtney Smith’s seven assists leads the conference and also ranks second in the nation. SMU will open conference play against UConn on Thursday previous to their matchup with the Owls.

Temple will be facing Houston and SMU for the first time in program history.