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.

Topdrawersoccer.com 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

O’Connor hires former colleague as assistant

Former Chestnut Hill College men’s soccer coach Keith Cappo has been hired as women’s soccer assistant coach, per a Thursday press release.

Cappo ran Chestnut Hill’s men’s soccer program from 2010 to 2013, the first year in which he spent opposite Temple women’s soccer coach Seamus O’Connor, who led Chestnut Hill’s women’s team as head coach in 2010.

The two have a working history, as Cappo served under O’Connor as an assistant in the ’08 and ’09 seasons at Chestnut Hill, when O’Connor guided both the men’s and women’s programs as director of soccer. They also worked alongside each other when Chestnut Hill was still transitioning from NCAA Division III to Division II in 2008.

In 2010, Cappo served as O’Connor’s assistant  with Philadelphia Liberty FC, a West Chester, Pa. based member of the Women’s Premier Soccer League.

Prior to his tenure at Chestnut Hill, Cappo coached in various capacities at the high school level with Thomas Edison and Bishop Denis J. O’Connell in 2004 to 2006. He also coached with The Shipley School from 2006 to 2008.

As a player, Cappo started for William Penn Charter’s varsity team for three years before a four-year playing career at The Catholic University of America, for which he led as captain in his final two seasons.

Cappo will first see regular-season action with the Owls Aug. 22 when Temple opens the season on the road against Binghamton University.

Owls release road-heavy schedule

Temple women’s soccer released their 2014 schedule for the upcoming fall season Tuesday.

The Owls begin their campaign Aug.18th versus Lafayette College at home in Ambler, a team they played to a scoreless draw last season.

Three of the first four games will be at Ambler, where Temple was 2-6 in a 2013 season that saw the Owls finish 6-12-1 overall.

After that stretch, the Owls will hit the road for eight consecutive road matches, including the Cornell Tournament in mid-September.  It’s a trend that will be present throughout the fall, as Temple will play 13 of its 20 games on the road.  The Owls will also never play more than two home matches in a row.
That being said, three matches will be in Philadelphia against Big 5 schools.  That, along with the quality of the schedule, has coach Seamus O’Connor in an optimistic mood.
“I am very happy with the quality and variety of playing styles we will face in our 2014 non-conference schedule,” O’Connor said in an interview with Owlsports.com. “Having three games against other Philadelphia schools is great preparation for the intensity we will face in our American Athletic Conference games.”
That conference schedule will start at Cincinnati on Sep. 25th, and will continue through the end of the season, excluding a road fixture at Delaware State University on Oct. 22nd.
-Steve Bohnel

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.

Owls to play first home games

After playing four consecutive road games, the Temple Owls (4-0) will open the Ambler Sports Complex to host their first home games of the season against the Marshall Thundering Herd (2-1-1) and the Rider Broncs (1-2).

Temple will face Marshall at 1:30pm on Friday, followed by a 12 p.m. Sunday matchup against Rider.

The Owls are off to the best start in program history, beginning the season with four consecutive victories. Temple has also recorded four consecutive shutouts which ties the program record.

On offense, six different Owls have scored this season, led by junior defender Alyssa Kirk and freshman midfielder Ingrid Mello, who are both tied with two goals apiece. Sophomore forward Kelly Farrell leads the team with two assists. Mello, Kirk, and Farrell account for 12 of Temple’s 24 points registered in 2013.

Sophomore goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff recently earned a spot on the American Athletic Conference’s weekly honor roll after she posted two more shutouts and recorded five saves.

The Thundering Herd’s Friday afternoon game against the Owl follows a double overtime game against Akron which ended in a 1-1 tie.

Sophomore forward Erin Simmons leads Marshall in scoring, recording three goals this season. Junior goalkeeper Lizzie Kish has started between the bars in each of Marshall’s games, recording 15 saves and two shutouts in the process.

Sunday, Rider will attempt to rebound against Temple, following a 2-0 shutout loss to Fairleigh Dickinson.

The Broncs have managed a total of three goals this season with senior forward Jennifer Meier leading the team with two goals and an assist. Rider has split it’s goalkeeping duties between redshirt freshman Vanessa Perdomo and freshman Bethany-May Howard. Both goalkeepers have recorded a total of 15 saves.

As a team, Temple’s defense has limited opponents’ shot opportunity which has contributed to the .000 goal percentage it has allowed. In four games played, the Owls have more than doubled their opponent’s shots, averaging 14 shots compared to their opponents’ 6.5 shots. Marshall has averaged 15.5 shots per game and Rider has averaged 9.7 shots per game.

Temple will be facing Marshall for the first time in program history this weekend. Against Rider, the Owls’ will attempt to win their first ever match against the Broncs, going 0-2 in past seasons.