Players earn weekly awards

Temple’s Nicole Tiernan and Jaqi Kakalecik earned half of the four Big East Conference weekly awards this past week. Tiernan, a junior forward from Washington Township, New Jersey, was named the conference’s midfielder of the week, while Kakalecik, a junior goalie hailing from Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, took home the defensive player of the week honor.

Leading the Temple offense, Tiernan scored seven goals during the week of spring break, including a career-high five-goal effort against Wagner College on March 4.

Kakalecik was a big part of Temple’s two-win week, as well, securing both wins in goal and tying a career high with 10 saves against Iona College.

-Matt Cockayne

Temple hires new field hockey coach

Temple’s athletic department has hired Marybeth Freeman, a five-time Division I title winner as both a player and coach, as the university’s new head field hockey coach, the department announced Tuesday in a press release.

Freeman coached Columbia University for five seasons prior to her hiring. She will replace former coach Amanda Janney, who resigned last month for a head-coaching position at Indiana University.

Freeman guided a Columbia team that went 12-5 last season, and tied for the program’s second-highest win total in its history. Prior to her time with the Lions, she won three national championships with the University of Maryland as an assistant coach.

“It’s an exciting time to be entering the Temple athletics community,” Freeman said in the release. “The alumni, the facilities and the energy surrounding Temple provide a great sense of pride and support throughout the campus. The recent successes the team has experienced will be an excellent foundation to start this new chapter for the program. I am eager to begin working with this talented group of women and for us to represent Temple field hockey the best we can on the field, in the classroom and within the community.”

Freeman graduated from Old Dominion University in 2002, helping the Lady Monarchs to national championships in 1998 and 2000 as a four-year starter.

She’ll take over a Temple program that finished nationally ranked with 14 wins in each of its past two seasons. The Owls reached the Big East Conference title game last fall, and lost to then-No. 3 Connecticut in a season-ending 4-1 defeat.

East Carolina sweeps Owls

Freshman Alina Abdurakhimova lost for the first time in singles since Jan. 24 as the Owls dropped their second straight conference match to East Carolina on Wednesday, 4-1.

East Carolina dominated in all facets of the match by winning three out of four singles matches, and winning the doubles point by narrowly escaping two of the three matches in 7-6 victories.

The only point earned by the Owls came from sophomore Anais Nussaume, who won in straight sets with scores of 6-4, 6-2.

In its last two conference matches, the Owls have been outmatched, only earning two total points. They only earned those points in singles, failing to claim any of the doubles points.

The men’s team also played East Carolina Wednesday and lost, 4–0. The Owls were swept for the second straight conference match.

Just like in Temple’s 7-0 loss to Memphis earlier in the season, East Carolina controlled each match and didn’t allow any Owls to score more than four games in a set.

Both teams have struggled in conference play so far, going 0-4 with two points scored. The Owls have been unable to find success in singles or doubles against early conference competition, allowing opponents to control the outcome of each match.

Both the men’s and women’s teams have Connecticut left on their schedules at the Student Pavilion, which will be the last conference opponent they face before the American Athletic Conference Championships.

Both teams will be in Maryland Saturday as they both take on Hampton at 10 a.m. and Maryland Eastern Shore at 3 p.m.

-Dalton Balthaser

Fernandez earns spot in NCAA meet

After leading the conference in both the mile and 3,000-meter runs at this past weekend’s American Athletic Conference Championships, graduate-junior Blanca Fernandez was officially awarded a bid to the 2015 NCAA Indoor National Championships Wednesday.

Fernandez, who began running for Temple earlier this semester, earned the 15th spot out of 16 runners for the mile. She will be seeded at a time of 4 minutes, 40.60 seconds, which she registered at the Alex Wilson Invite on Feb. 21.

Fernandez will be the first athlete in 28 years to represent the women’s track & field team at the national meet, the last being high jumper Felicia Hodges in 1987.

“I’m thrilled that she is going to have the opportunity to race against the best girls here in the NCAA,” Cross Country coach James Snyder said. “Any time you’re a competitor like she is, you have high goals and you want to get a chance to measure up against the best to see really how good you are.”

Fernandez, Snyder, and head coach Elvis Forde will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas for the meet, which will take place March 13-14.

-Tyler DeVice

Owls end trip with sweep of Murray State

The men’s tennis team has traveled a total of 1,548 miles over the past two weekends, as it journeyed 540 miles to Ohio last weekend and 1,008 miles to Tennessee this weekend.

Despite being shut out Friday by conference opponent Memphis, the Owls responded by blanking the Racers Saturday, 7-0.

Temple won each of its matches in straight sets, controlling each from the beginning.

Coach Steve Mauro said he was happy with how his team responded after a 7-0 defeat to Memphis Friday. He also said that the team got used to the environment and played better.

Juniors Santiago Canete (6-2, 6-2), Nicolas Paulus (6-2, 6-1), Hicham Belkssir (6-4, 6-1) and Ian Glessing (6-0, 6-1) each won their matches easily. Sophomores Filip Stipcic (6-2, 6-1) and Vineet Naran (6-3, 6-3) contributed singles points to the effort, as well.

The doubles pairings made quick work of the Racers to secure the doubles point, which the team struggled to get against Memphis.

“In singles and doubles the guys played well,” Mauro said. “The guys didn’t lose a set and were more focused. We didn’t make as many mistakes in the match today … this was a solid win for us.”

Throughout the course of the season, the Owls have seen its share of inconsistencies in its on-court performances.

Mauro said that traveling a lot can take its toll on his players. He said that the inconsistent play could be attributed to these trips. After traveling for long periods of time, Mauro said the team takes a match to get warmed up and used to the new environment.

“Traveling is part of college tennis and every team has to do it,” Mauro said. “We just grind [traveling] out and do our best.”

The Owls (6-5, 0-1 American Athletic Conference) will travel to conference opponent East Carolina on March 4.

-Dalton Balthaser

Fernandez bests two records in conference meet

At the 2015 Indoor American Athletic Conference Championship meet at the New Balance Center in New York, graduate-junior Blanca Fernandez set new meet records in both the mile run and the 3,000-meter run.

Fernandez’s mile mark of 4 minutes, 50.11 seconds surpassed the previous meet record of 4:53 set by Laura Williamson (Connecticut) last year, while Fernandez’s 3,000 mark of 9:29.77 shattered the previous record of 9:36.65 seconds set by Emily Durgin (Connecticut) last year.

Fernandez won the conference’s Most Outstanding Performer award for her performance.

Forde said Fernandez and the team should soon hear as to whether or not her recent performances have been enough to allow her entry into the NCAA National Championship meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas on March 13-14.

-Tyler DeVice

Owls top Lafayette in bounce-back victory

Temple didn’t need its usual late-game heroics to beat Lafayette College on Saturday. The Owls won, 17-7, thanks in large part to a 10-0 goal run that extended from the first to the second half.

Junior midfielder Nicole Tiernan, who notched her second consecutive hat trick against the Leopards, opened the scoring less than three minutes into the game. Lafayette responded with a 4-1 run that put it up by two goals with just under 11 minutes left in the half.

It was all Owls from there on out. Junior midfielder Megan Tiernan’s first goal of the game at 10:40 started a streak of 10 goals that blew the game open. Within that stretch, eight different players scored, including two from junior Megan Tiernan, two from junior attacker Avery Longstaff and one from freshman attacker Nicole Barretta.

The streak ended when Lafayette sophomore attacker Ashley Tedesco scored with 18:52 left in regulation. After surrendering its first goal in almost 22 minutes, Temple ended the game on a 5-2 run, clinching the 17-7 win and its fourth win on the season.

The Owls’ dominance of possession marked a critical factor in the game, as they secured 19 draw controls after struggling in that department in its blowout loss to Cornell last weekend.

Temple (4-1) will travel to New York next week to play Wagner College in Staten Island on Wednesday and Iona College in New Rochelle on Friday.

-Matt Cockayne

Track competes in Day 1 of conference championship

The women’s track & field team traveled to the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory in New York to compete this weekend in the American Athletic Conference Championship.

Friday, the first day of competition, was highlighted by graduate-junior Blanca Fernandez, who finished fourth in the mile run with a time of 5 minutes, 4.73 seconds. This finish qualified Fernandez for the final round of the mile, which will take place on Saturday.

Senior Kiersten LaRoche earned a combined 3,555 points in the women’s pentathlon, awarding her fifth in the event and putting Temple on the board in the team scoring.

Sophomore Bionca St. Fleur placed eighth in the long jump with a distance of 5.78 meters, which also qualified her for the event finals.

Personal-best performances were brought in by freshman Katie Pinson, who finished 13th in the mile with a time of 5:13.53, as well as sophomore Sydnee Jacques with her 16th-place mark of 9.10 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles.

First-year coach Elvis Forde said the competition at a conference level is fierce, showcasing some high-level talent.

“[It was] a pretty tough [day] in regards to our performances,” Forde said. “Our athletes competed really hard, and this is what this conference is all about in terms of the quality of athletes that are here. Although our kids performed well, I am going to have expectations that now we have to raise the bar if we are going to match up with the current athletes that are [at the championship].”

The Owls currently stand in last place in the overall rankings with five points scored, and will continue performances on Saturday.

-Tyler DeVice

O’Connor signs six recruits

Seamus O’Connor will have six new freshmen to work with next season.

Goalkeeper Jordan Nash, Midfielders Juliet Esposito and Sarah McGlinn, and defenders Katie McCoy, Olivia Novak and Kelcie Dolan have all decided to join the team that set a program record with 11 wins last season.

O’Connor didn’t go far to find his recruits. Mccoy and Novak are both from Pennsylvania, while the other four players are from New Jersey.

With senior Alyssa Kirk as the only Owl gone from last season’s roster, it looks like the incoming freshmen will help bolster the team’s depth, which was lacking last season. gave three-star rankings to McCoy, McGlinn and Nash, the only three players ranked by the site.

McGlinn played at Cherry Hill West High School, while McCoy played at Neshaminy High School, Kirk’s alma mater and Nash played at St. Rose High School.

Esposito played her high school ball at Camden Catholic high school. She was a first-team all-conference and all-state honorable mention selection in this past season.

Novak is out of Manheim Central High School. She received first team Lancaster-Lebanon League honors after her senior season.

Dolan, from Absegami High School, was also a first team all-conference selection for her team this past season in the Cape Atlantic League.

-Owen McCue

The American releases schedule

The American Athletic Conference released its full schedule Monday, completing the football team’s slate of games for the 2015 season.

Week 4 will mark the Owls’ lone bye week of the season, after the team had three on last year’s schedule.

In The American’s first season operating on a 12-team, two-division format, Temple will play eight conference games – five within its own East division. It’ll also play Houston, Memphis and Tulane – three teams in the west – along with Penn State, Massachusetts, Charlotte and Notre Dame in non-conference action.

Game times have yet to be released, as does much of the television coverage. The Owls’ visit to East Carolina on Oct. 22 is set to be broadcast on either ESPN or ESPN2, while the Owls’ trip to Southern Methodist will be broadcast either on ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Temple will host Penn State in the season opener at Lincoln Financial Field, while Notre Dame, which finished outside of the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time since the 2011 season with an 8-5 record this past fall, will visit the Linc in a Halloween matchup on Oct. 31.

The American will also introduce a playoff game on Dec. 5 to decide the conference champion. The game will feature the team with the best record from each division, and will take place at the site of the school with the better record.