Matthews, Owls end season in conference tournament

The men’s golf team finished in last place at the American Athletic Conference Championship in Lecanto, Florida. Temple’s cumulative score for the event was a 906, which was 42 strokes over par and 69 shots behind the winning school, South Florida.

Even junior standout Brandon Matthews was not at his best. Matthews shot a seven-over 151 in the first two rounds of the event on day one on Sunday. While Matthews would bounce back with a four-under 68 for the final round, he was unable to crack the Top 20 in the season’s final event finishing in a tie for 22nd at three-over.

Seniors Pat Ross and Matt Teesdale concluded their Temple careers with finishes of 37th and 47th respectively. Freshman Mark Farley finished between the two seniors for the Owls coming in a tie for 41st at 16-over. Fellow freshmen Evan Thornton rounded out the field for Temple 31-over in 50th place.

While the season may be over for the Owls, it may not be the end of Matthews’ outstanding junior campaign. He will find out on Monday if he is selected to play in the 2015 NCAA Championship.

Greg Frank can be reached at or on Twitter @g_frank6.

Matthews back on track in second day of tournament

The golf team resumed play in the Furman Intercollegiate Golf Tournament on Saturday.

Junior Brandon Matthews moved up to third place in the overall individual standings by shooting a 66 on the day. The score was good enough to share a spot at the top of the single round.

After a rough first round, shooting 6 over par, Freshman Evan Notaro bounced back, finishing with a score of 71. This was good for one under par, joining Matthews as the only team members to score below par on the round.

The strong efforts from Matthews and Notaro helped push Temple up two spots in the leaderboard. Sixth place Temple now finds itself two strokes behind the next spot in the leaderboard, currently owned by West Carolina.

Freshman Mark Farley struggled out the gate going four over par on the first hole, and finished the day 11 over par.

Matthew Teesdale, who was the lone Owl to finish below par in the first round, attempted to repeat his success. Teesdale started out hot with a score of two under par through the first eight holes, but struggled at the ninth hole with a triple bogie. Teesdale was able to not let the bad hole get the best of him, and he finished with a score of three over par.

The ninth hole was an issue for his teammates Pat Ross and Even Thornton as well. Both golfers left the hole with double bogies, but like their teammate, they were able to battle through.

“If we take out just the ninth hole, we’re in second place.” Said Matthews, who believed that the team needed to focus on cleaning up there game.

Despite another double-bogie on the tenth, Ross finished one stroke over par. Thornton finished two over on the day. Both golfers did well moving forward after their poor performances. The Owls hope to continue to move forward heading into the final round of the tournament.

-Matt Rego

Teesdale shines in Furman tournament

The Owls teed off Friday morning in Greenville, South Carolina for their second tournament of the spring season.

The Furman Intercollegiate Golf Tournament was held at Furman University’s 7,000-yard, par-72 golf course located on the campus.

The tournament held a field of 18 teams with the majority coming from the Southern Conference. Of the 18 in the field, four schools found themselves placed in the NCAA’s top 100. The most notable of these teams was Virginia Tech, the 31st best in the nation.

The field opened with less than stellar conditions, which included mild winds, humidity, and cloudy skies. The Owls battled through the elements and closed out the match in sole possession of eighth place.

Junior Brandon Matthews started strong, but struggled at the 10th and 13th holes. He said he was satisfied in his own overall play Friday.

“I had a nice first stretch of holes on the start with some birdies and was able to even it back out at the end,” Matthews said.

Senior Matthew Teesdale also finished with the best score of the Owls at 1-under par.

– Matt Rego

Owls make WNIT tournament

The women’s basketball team was included among the 64-team field selected for the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, which was announced Monday night.

The team’s inclusion in the tournament marks the first time it will take part in postseason play since the 2011-12 season.

Temple needed to win five of its last six games of the regular season in order to guarantee itself a .500 record and become qualified for postseason play.

The Owls’ first-round loss in the American Athletic Conference tournament put some anxiety in the team as a win over the Pirates would have put them in a more favorable postseason situation.

Sitting at a 16-16 overall record, the team was unsure if it would receive an invite to the WNIT.

The last time the team reached postseason play was in Williams’ freshman year when it also played in the WNIT. The Owls, then in the Atlantic 10 conference, finished with a 23-10 record that season.

They advanced two rounds in the tournament with wins over Quinnipiac University and Harvard University before losing to Syracuse University.

Owls snubbed in tourney

The men’s basketball team did not receive an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament, marking the squad’s second-straight season missing the field of 68.

Despite a turnaround season where the Owls finished 23-10 (13-5 American Athletic Conference), the Owls were among the first four teams left out of the tournament. The squad also beat then-No. 10 Kansas, but fell to No. 20 Southern Methodist three times during the season.


Dunphy honored as conference’s coach of the year

Fran Dunphy was chosen as the American Athletic Conference’s Coach of the Year award at the conference’s awards luncheon held Thursday at the XL Center, according to a recent press release.

Dunphy, who owns a career coaching record of 499-269, has led the Owls to a 22-9 mark this year after the team finished 9-22 last season, when it failed to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2006-07 – Dunphy’s first season as Temple coach.

“I am humbled by this honor as there are so many coaches deserving of this award in our conference,” Dunphy said in the release. “While this may read Coach of the Year, it is truly a team award. I would like to recognize our staff for all the hard work throughout the season, and our players for their hard work this season.”

The honor marks the third time the 26-year coach has been honored with a conference coach-of-the-year award at Temple. Previously, he was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2012.

2.17 Issue: Sports in brief

Fernandez eclipses 3,000-meter mark

Temple’s newest track & field athlete, graduate-junior Blanca Fernandez, shattered Temple’s indoor 3,000-meter record at the Valentine Invitational at Boston University last Friday.

Fernandez established a new record mark of 9 minutes, 16.24 seconds, finishing in eighth overall.

First-year coach Elvis Forde said he was impressed with Fernandez’s performance, which could allow her entry into the NCAA National Championships.

“[Fernandez] had a really good run,” Forde said. “[She] really put herself in the position to get a chance to be in the NCAA [championship]. It will just be a waiting game now until that selection process begins.”

However, Forde will give Fernandez one more opportunity to improve her time further and qualify for the national meet, as she’ll travel to Notre Dame on Saturday to compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational.

“We will run her one more time over at Notre Dame next weekend to see if she can get in automatically,” Forde said. “They only take so many people to the event, so we’re going to keep our fingers crossed for her and hope that things go well.”

Tyler Device

St. Fleur breaks 21-year-old record 

Sophomore Bionca St. Fleur also set a new all-time mark for the university on Friday, as she finished the 200-meter dash in 24.30 seconds, shattering a 21-year-old Temple record.

With the record-breaking time, St. Fleur finished the event in 12th overall. The previous Temple indoor 200-meter dash record of 24.50 seconds was set by Toya Adams back in 1994.

“I was actually really surprised,” St. Fleur said. “I always wanted to go sub-25 [seconds], and before I got on the [starting] line, all [coach Elvis] Forde was saying was, ‘You need to break 25.’ I think I had great preparations, just with all the workouts that coach Forde has been putting us through.”

St. Fleur also said she feels like she is following the path of a fellow runner, Jamila Janneh, who also holds Temple records of her own.

“I know [Janneh] broke a record her sophomore year, too,” St. Fleur. “I feel like I’m following in her footsteps, and [she’s] inspired me to just do the best I can and put on for Temple track.”

-Tyler DeVice

Former lineman honored

A member of the Temple team that went to the Garden State Bowl in 1979 will be honored next month.

Former Temple defensive tackle Matt Lauck will be enshrined in the Gloucester County Hall of Fame on March 24, it was announced Thursday. He spent the 1979 and 1980 seasons with the team.

He’ll be honored for his career at Pitman High School, where he was a standout football player and wrestler. His accomplishments in high school included his participation in the first New Jersey North-South all-star football game, along with a New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association state heavyweight wrestling championship in 1979.

-Andrew Parent

Butts earns weekly award

Freshman guard Alliya Butts was named the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week Monday for her performances against Tulsa and Houston last week. It marks her second time this season winning the award.

In a 75-67 loss to Tulsa on Feb. 10, Butts scored a team-high 17 points and added two assists and two steals. On Feb. 14 against Houston, she scored a team- and game-high 22 points and had six assists in a 72-60 victory.

In 14 games since entering the starting lineup on Dec. 28, 2014, Butts has averaged nearly 16 points per game.

The Edgewater Park, New Jersey native is averaging 13 points per game and has posted double-figure scoring marks in 10 consecutive games.

-Michael Guise

Cummings honored by conference

Senior guard Will Cummings led the way for the men’s basketball team in a pair of wins last week, and it helped earn the Jacksonville, Florida native his first career American Athletic Conference Player of the Week award.

The honor, announced by the conference Monday, comes after Cummings led the Owls with 21 points, five assists and four steals in the team’s 75-59 defeat of Cincinnati last Tuesday. He followed Tuesday’s showing with a 17-point game this past Saturday in Temple’s 66-53 victory against East Carolina. He added seven rebounds and six assists in the win, the Owls’ seventh straight.

He’s averaging 13.7 points per game in his senior season, along with 4.1 assists and 1.8 steals in 25 games played. After suffering a left-leg muscle strain against the University of Tulsa on Jan. 10, Cummings has started each game since he missed Temple’s 84-53 road loss at Cincinnati Jan. 17, and logged 40 minutes against the Bearcats last Tuesday, his first time playing the entirety of a contest since his injury.

-Andrew Parent

Owls post undefeated result

The women’s fencing team crossed the border into New Jersey to collect its second undefeated record of the season on Saturday.

“We have been working hard all week and it really paid off today in the quality of fencing and how well the girls did,” coach Nikkie Franke said. “The whole team did every well, I was very pleased.”

The Owls went 5-0 at the Fairleigh Dickson University-hosted meet to improve to 23-8 so far this season.

John Hopkins handed the Owls their biggest challenge of the day, as they were able to escape with a 16-11 victory.

After fencing in 15 bouts Sunday, sophomore Rachael Clark led the epee squad with a 13- 2 record. While freshman epeeist, Safa Ibrahim, continued her spectacle season with a 12-3 record. Jessica Hall also cemented the same score of 12-3.

Junior foilist Fatima Largaespada went 11-2 on the day, securing an undefeated record of 3-0 record against Fairleigh Dickinson University and Brandeis University. While Becca Standford return to the strip today, as she was restricted by injuries at the Northwestern Duals last weekend. The freshman went 9-1.

Sabre fencer, Victoria Suber, walked off the strip on Saturday with a 8-0 record while teammate Gloria Aguilar went 8-1 on the day.

A few of the Owls are continuing to nurse injuries, including sophomore foilist Miranda Litzinger.

The Owls now look to the Junior Olympics next weekend as some of the fencers will compete in the competition.

2.3 Issue: Sports in brief

Field Hockey: Tiernan earns conference honors

Temple junior midfielder Nicole Tiernan was selected as the Owls’ lone representative on the 16-player All-Big East Conference preseason women’s lacrosse team last Tuesday. The conference’s eight coaches voted on the roster.

Her 29 goals ranked second-most on the team in 2014, and helped result in her Big East second-team selection last season, as well as an invitation to try out for the U.S. Women’s national team last summer.

Big East newcomers Florida and Vanderbilt both contributed players to the preseason all-conference squad, including a league-best four from the Gators.    

-Matt Cockayne

Track & Field: LaRoache takes gold

Senior Kiersten LaRoche was the only Temple track & field athlete competing on Friday, but she kicked off the team’s win with a victory.

Hosted by George Mason University, the two-day event started off with the men’s and women’s pentathlon competitions.

LaRoche’s event, the Pentathlon, was a five-part competition consisting of the 60-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800-meter run.

LaRoche dominated the competition, placing first in three out of the five events – the 60-meter hurdles in 8.91 seconds, the shot put with a distance of 10.89 meters and the long jump in 5.49 meters.

She placed second in the high jump, clearing 1.64 meters, and in the 800 with a mark of 2 minutes, 31.52 seconds. These finishes were enough to accumulate 3,671 points in the women’s pentathlon, which awarded LaRoche the first-place finish.

The event was worth 10 points and gave Temple the early lead in women’s competition.

LaRoche finished fifth in the 60-meter dash with a mark of 8.80 seconds in Day 2 of the competition on Saturday. The Owls swiped four gold medals en route to finishing fourth overall.

-Tyler DeVice

Football: Rhule honing in on four-star recruit

As the time dwindles in the 2014-15 recruiting period, the Owls are making a concerted effort to land four-star running back T.J. Simmons to its Class of 2015.

Per a report from the Inquirer, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound back visited Main Campus last week and – after decommitting from UCLA, is expected to sign with the Owls next Wednesday, during national signing day.

Simmons is ranked the No. 17 running back in the country by, a recruiting website.

Simmons is one of two four-star recruits expected to sign with the Owls, the other being New Jersey defensive back Kareem Ali Jr., who has already signed his letter of intent, according to

-EJ Smith

Women’s basketball: Covile makes honor roll

Junior forward Erica Covile was named to the American Athletic Conference Weekly Honor Roll Monday for the third time this season.

In games last week against Connecticut and Central Florida, Covile averaged 13.5 points, 9 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.5 assists. She is averaging 11.2 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game for the season.

The Owls, who went 1-1 through the two-game stretch, are fourth in The American with a 6-3 conference record and a 10-12 overall record.

-Michael Guise

Men’s basketball: Owls earn multiple honors

Will Cummings and Obi Enechionyia each earned American Athletic Conference honors Monday for their performances in wins against Central Florida and Tulane last week.

Enechionyia is the conference’s rookie of the week after averaging 10.5 points per game and 3 rebounds per game for the week.

Cummings was included in The American’s weekly honor roll after he averaged 13.5 ppg along with 5 rebounds and 4 blocks per game, respectively, through both games for the Owls (15-7, 6-3 The American).

-Andrew Parent

Softball: Cut team set to return as club

After being one of the five varsity sports cut by the athletic department last year, the softball team will return to play next season as a member of the National Club Softball Association.

The softball team ended its final season 15-30 (5-13 American Athletic Conference) and would have returned 15 players had the program stayed afloat.

The squad joins men’s gymnastics, men’s track & field and the baseball team as former Division I sports that are now club teams at the university.

-EJ Smith

1.27 Issue: Sports in brief

Fencing: Kastor sitting out season

Coach Nikki Franke confirmed last Saturday that former fencing captain Tiki Kastor will not be competing this season for academic reasons.

Last season, Kastor helped lead the Owls to an eighth-place finish at the NCAA Fencing Championships. Individually, she finished seventh overall in the meet last season.

With a top finish in the NCAA Fencing Championships, Kastor was able to compete at the United States Fencing Association Division I National Championships last April, where she finished in fifth in the Division I women’s sabre competition at the senior national level,

Kastor qualified for the 2014 Senior World Championships, in which she went as far as the round of eight in Direct Elimination. She finished in fifth place.

The sabre fencer will have one more year of eligibility, Franke said.

-Danielle Nelson

Owls No. 10 in recent rankings

The fencing team dropped a spot in the CollegeFencing360 poll.

The first of three rankings was released last Wednesday, with Temple ranked No. 10 in the nation, one spot shy of its No. 9 ranking from last season.

Although the Owls dropped one spot since the last ranking, coach Nikki Franke said she was not surprised.

“That was the first poll that came out that season,” Franke said. “So based on who we fenced so far and who other teams had fenced, it was a reasonable ranking. I wasn’t upset about it.”

Before the rankings came out, the Owls faced nine teams in their two collegiate meets since the season started.

Now, Franke said the rankings will be used as motivation for the team.

“We talked as a team saying, ‘If we want to move up, we have to beat teams they ranked ahead of us,’” Franke said.

That is what the Owls did on Saturday when they beat No. 6 University of Pennsylvania and No. 9 Northwestern, going undefeated in the first meet they competed in since the release of the ranking.

Coach Franke said the next poll will be released in February.

-Danielle Nelson

Tennis: Mauro nabs new transfer

The men’s tennis team has added transfer student Ian Glessing to the 2014-15 roster, a university spokesperson said. Glessing will join the team this semester.

Glessing, a junior, is a transfer from Arizona Christian University, where he recorded a 17-7 singles record in his sophomore season.

He is a Scottsdale, Arizona native.

-Dalton Balthaser

Football: Rhule hosting signing day celebration

In celebration of the NCAA football national signing day next Wednesday, Feb. 4, the Temple Owls Club will host three separate events celebrating the signing period in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill and Ambler next week.

Along with a 6 p.m. dinner, coach Matt Rhule will present a program highlighting the team’s class next Wednesday night at the Pyramid Club in Philadelphia. The club will show the second half of Temple’s men’s basketball game against Central Florida.

Rhule will stop at P.J. Whelihan’s in Cherry Hill for lunch next Thursday at 11:30 a.m., while the latter program will take place at Talamore Country Club in Ambler.

For both dinner events, Owl Club members will receive a discounted admission price of $20, while the general admission cost is $25.

Admission for the lunch event at P.J. Whelihan’s will be $10 for club members and $15 for the general public.

-Andrew Parent

Women’s basketball: Butts honored by conference

Freshman Alliya Butts has been named the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week. It was announced Monday.

In the Owls’ 83-50 victory against Cincinnati last Tuesday, Butts scored 17 points, grabbed four rebounds and tied a career-high with five assists. In conference play, the young point guard is averaging 14 points per game.

Since being inserted into the starting lineup on Dec. 28 against Memphis, Butts has averaged nearly 14 ppg and scored in double figures five times.

For the season, Butts is second on the team in scoring average – netting 11.3 ppg, good for No. 20 in the conference, the sixth highest freshman. She also has 42 steals, which leads the team and ranks No. 2 in The American.

-Michael Guise