Owls, Knights look to rebound from losses

Temple (7-5, 1-1) will host its second straight American Athletic Conference game, as the Owls face the Central Florida Knights (8-5, 1-1) on Saturday in McGonigle Hall at 2 p.m.

Both Temple and UCF will look to redeem itselves in Saturday’s matchup after being overmatched against conference powerhouses #7 Louisville and #1 Connecticut respectively. Though Temple’s 77-68 loss to Louisville was by single digits, the Cardinals held comfortable double digit leads throughout regulation and forced freshman guard Feyonda Fitzgerald into her first scoreless outing as an Owl.

Temple’s most productive player in recent weeks has been sophomore guard Erica Covile, who has scored in double figures in five consecutive games. During that five game span, Covile has averaged 13.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks.

For UCF, sophomore guard Briahanna Jackson has posted more than 20 points in two conference matchups this year, scoring 28 points in a loss to UConn. Jackson’s 28 points are the most points scored against the Huskies by a single player this season.

The game between the Owls and Knights will be the second time the teams have faced each other in program history since 1995. In the 1995 meeting, UCF defeated Temple 84-66 at home.

Williams, Fitzgerald earn weekly honors

Temple’s starting backcourt of junior guard Tyonna Williams and freshman guard Feyonda Fitzgerald were both recognized in this week’s American Athletic Conference awards.

After recording 39 total points in victories against Delaware and Auburn, Williams was named to this week’s The American Honor Roll. The junior guard was also named Philadelphia Big 5 player of the week.

Fitzgerald, the late game hero against Auburn, was named this week’s The American Freshman of the Week. The freshman guard made four three point field goals against Auburn, including the go-ahead three in the closing seconds of Temple’s 78–74 win.

For both Williams and Fitzgerald, their best outings of the week were in a comeback victory against Auburn which saw both players recording career-highs. Williams’ 29 point outing was the best of her career, while Fitzgerald recorded a career-high 18 points.

Women’s basketball to open season at La Salle

The Owls will begin the regular season with a road contest against cross-town rival La Salle on Friday at 7 p.m. Friday’s game will be both team’s first Philadelphia Big-5 game of the season.

Last year, the Owls earned a 14-18 overall record which included a 5-9 Atlantic-10 conference record. Among Temple’s nine conference losses was a 71-57 loss to former A-10 foe La Salle in McGonigle Hall. The loss to La Salle was coach Tonya Cardoza’s first loss to the Explorers in her five seasons as coach of the Owls.

Junior guard Tyonna Williams, redshirt senior forward Natasha Thames, and sophomore Erica Coville are the Owls’ top returning players and will be part of the starting roster against the Explorers. Coville joins the starting lineup after a season-ending knee injury last season.

In the offseason, the Owls brought two new players who will likely start against the Explorers: freshman guard Feyonda Fitzgerald and former George Washington fifth-year senior forward Shi-Heria Shipp. In the Owls’ exhibition game against West Chester, Fitzgerald scored a game-high 23 points and Shipp tied a game-high with 12 rebounds.

Top returning scorer junior guard Rateska Brown has been suspended indefinitely so Temple will also depend on sophomore guards Meghan Roxas and May Dayan to provide support off the bench at the guard position. Roxas scored 11 points in last year’s game against La Salle.

Depending on Cardoza’s decision on the size of Temple’s lineup, freshmen centers Safiya Martin and Taylor Robinson may also play significant minutes.

For La Salle, its starting lineup will feature a brand new combination of players, as they return four letterwinners and no starters from last season. The Explorers were selected to finish in tenth place in the A-10’s preseason poll.

With Temple moving to the American Athletic Conference, the Owls and La Salle no longer conference foes, but the 37 year Philadelphia rivalry continues in the Big-5. Last year’s victory gave La Salle a 21-20 all-time advantage against Temple.

Brown, Jackson suspended

According to athletic communications, junior guard Rateska Brown and sophomore forward Jacquilyn Jackson have been suspended indefinitely due to violation of team rules.

Brown was Temple’s top returning scorer, recording 10.8 points per game in the 2012-13 season and was slated to be a part of the Owls’ guard rotation this year.

Jackson played in 23 games last season, contributing off of the bench.

Neither player suited up for the Owls’ 116-59 exhibition victory and the team is not commenting further on the players’ future availability.

Owls face SMU in first round

No. 9 seed Temple (6-11-1, 1-8) will face No. 8 seed Southern Methodist (8-8-1, 3-5-1) in the first round of the American Athletic Conference tournament on Friday at 7 p.m. in Orlando, FL.

Despite a their losing record, the Owls have advanced to the conference tournament due to the inclusion of all ten American teams this year. Temple’s last postseason berth came in 1995 when the Owls took part in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament.

The Owls are currently skidding, having lost their last eight conference games. In the last weekend of the regular season, Temple was shutout by Rutgers and Memphis by a combined five goals.

Temple will likely depend on sophomore midfielder Kelly Farrell, sophomore Erin Lafferty, and junior defender Alyssa Kirk to end the Owls’ offensive drought. Farrell, Lafferty, and Kirk have recorded a combined 54 shots and 29 shots on goal this season. The trio has also combined for 20 points on eight goals and four assists.

Sophomore goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff has continued to lead the conference with 92 saves and seven shutouts on the year.

Temple’s current losing streak began on September 29, when the Owls received their first conference loss to SMU 1-0. In Temple’s previous matchup against SMU, Mustangs’ freshman forward Kelsey Gorney scored in the game-winning 52nd minute goal.

Just like they have throughout the conference schedule, against SMU, the Owls struggled to record shot attempts. SMU held a  double digit shot advantage, registering 15 shots compared to Temple’s three shots. None of the Owls’ three shots were on goal and in the second half, they failed to take any shots.

The victor of Temple and SMU’s first round match will move on to the second round where top seeded Central Florida awaits. The second round game against UCF will take place on Sunday at 1pm.

Owls end regular season on the road

Temple (6-9-1, 1-6) will travel to face two American Athletic Conference opponents, Memphis (9-7, 2-5) and Rutgers (11-3-2, 4-2-1), for their final games of the regular season.

Temple will visit Memphis, Tenn. to play against Memphis on Thursday at 7 p.m. Three days later, the Owls will travel to Piscataway, N.J. for their season finale against Rutgers on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Owls hope to end their six game losing streak which is the program’s most consecutive losses since 2007. Though it has found the back of the net in four consecutive games, Temple has not held a lead against a conference opponent since its first conference game against Houston.

Offensively, junior defender Alyssa Kirk, sophomore defender Erin Lafferty and sophomore midfielder Kelly Farrell have led the Owls, combining for 20 of the team’s 47 point total. Farrell leads the team with three assists, while Lafferty and Kirk are tied for a team-high three goals with freshman midfielder Ingrid Mello. Kirk, Lafferty, and Farrell have either scored or assisted on 12 of the Owls’ 17 goals this season.

Sophomore goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff remains one shutout shy of tying the conference record for shutouts in a season and career shutouts. During conference play, Kerkhoff has led the conference in saves, averaging nearly eight saves per game, but has allowed two goals per game, which ranks among the bottom half of the conference.

Leading the Memphis offense, that has averaged two goals against conference opponents, is freshman forward Valerie Sanderson and senior midfielder Christabel Oduro, who have combined for 20 goals and six assists this season. Freshman goalkeeper Maryse Bard-Martel has amassed 27 saves within the conference.

For Rutgers, they are led on both sides of the ball by a couple of redshirt seniors. American Athletic Conference offensive player of the year, forward Jonelle Filligno, has recorded seven goals and three assists this season. Within conference play, goalkeeper Jessica Janosz leads all goalkeepers with three shutouts in seven games.

In the final weekend of the conference schedule, the seeds for next week’s conference tournament will be determined. All ten members of the conference will participate in the tournament.

Thursday’s matchup in Memphis will be Temple’s first game against the Tigers in program history.

Sunday’s game will be the sixth game between the Owls and the Scarlet Knights since 1991. Rutgers holds the all-time advantage with a 2-1-2 record against Temple. In the most recent matchup, taken place in 2005, Rutgers shutout Temple 6-0.

Owls to wrap up home schedule

This weekend, the Owls host will host their last two home games of the season against the Louisville and Cincinnati.

After playing the last three games on the road, Temple (6-7-1,1-4) returns to the confines of Ambler, Pa. this week. At the Ambler Sports Complex, the Owls will face Louisville (9-4-1,5-1) on Thursday at 3 p.m. followed by their Senior Day game against Cincinnati (7-8-1,3-2-1) on Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Owls have gone winless through four conference games since their conference schedule opening shutout against Houston. During the four game span, Temple has been outscored 9-2 and shutout twice.

On offense, the Owls have struggled to record shots and shots on goal during their conference schedule. In the five game stretch, Temple ranks at the bottom of the conference in shots, recording 27. Only Temple and Houston have averaged under double digit shots during conference play. Junior defender Alyssa Kirk has led the Owls in shots and shots on goal, but will attempt to find the back of the net for first time since August.

Louisville currently stands at first place in the American. Unanimous American Athletic Conference preseason team selection senior midfielder Charlyn Corral has led the Cardinals offensively, recording 12 goals and six assists. Freshman goalkeeper Paige Brown has started every game and has registered 49 saves.

Cincinnati’s junior defender Jae Atkinson has recorded 11 points on three goals and five assists, which leads the Bearcats. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Natalie Smith has registered 52 saves and two shutouts in 12 starts.

Temple’s matchups against the Bearcats and the Cardinals will be the first games between the teams in program history.

Owls travel to Sunshine State

This weekend, the  Owls will play a pair of road conference games against the South Florida Bulls and the No. 24 Central Florida Knights.

Temple will visit Tampa, FL to face South Florida (5-2-3, 0-1) on Friday at 7:30 p.m., followed by Central Florida (8-2-1,1-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Orlando, FL.

Temple (6-4-1,1-1) look to continue their road game success, where the Owls recorded a 4-0-1 record during the non-conference schedule. The Owls have also shutout each of their road opponents in 2013 and defeated their first four road opponents by a combined eight goals.

In the early going of conference play, sophomore midfielder Paige Rachel has been the Owls’ offensive standout, recording a goal and assist against Houston. Rachel’s effort against the Cougars earned her a spot on the conference Weekly Honor Roll. Eight different Owls have scored goals this season.

Sophomore goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff has recorded 39 total saves which ranks fourth in conference. Kerkhoff is also one shutout shy of tying the program record for shutouts in a year (eight) and career shutouts (12).

USF has played competitively against nationally ranked opponents this season, losing to No. 19 South Carolina and tying with No. 8 Florida 1-1. Senior forward Sharla Passariello leads the Bulls with four goals this season. Sophomore goalkeeper Christiane Endler has recorded 40 saves and .870 save percentage.

UCF is riding a seven game unbeaten streak with its most recent victory coming against USF. After receiving votes throughout the season, the Knights earned a No. 24 national ranking this week. Senior Forward Nicolette Radovcic leads the Knights’ offense with 12 goals and three assists. Senior goalkeeper Lianne Maldonado was selected as the conference’s preseason goalkeeper of the year.

In program history, Temple’s only game against UCF was a 0-3 loss in 1992. The Owls have never faced USF.

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.

Women’s soccer looks to rebound

The Temple Owls (4-2) will face the Binghamton Bearcats (4-1) at Ambler Sports Complex on Friday at 4 p.m., followed by a road matchup against the Lafayette Leopards (3-1) on Sunday at 1 p.m.

This weekend, Temple will try to rebound after dropping two consecutive games against Marshall and Rider. During their current losing streak, the Owls have been shutout twice after outscoring their first four opponents 8-0.

The Owls’ defense has continued its strong play, allowing two goals in six games, but the offense has had recent struggles, netting a total of two goals against their last four opponents.

Junior defender Alyssa Kirk has led the Owls with 16 total shots in 2013, matching her career-high for a single season. Kirk also leads the team in shots on goal, recording nine, and has registered two goals this season.

Leading the Bearcats’ attack, sophomore forward Stephani Church has recorded three goals and one assist this season. Senior goalkeeper Carrie Martin has registered a 4-0 record in her starts, earning 14 total saves and three shutouts in the process.

Junior forward Alyssa Finelli is the top goal scorer for Lafayette, scoring two goals in three starts. Finelli has also recorded an assist. Freshman goalkeeper Danielle Sedillo has begun her season with a 3-1 record and has recorded 11 saves.

In program history, the Owls have managed a 1-0-1 record against Lafayette and a 0-1 record against Binghamton.