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 begin season on the road

The Temple Owls will start the 2013 season with a pair of road games against the NJIT Highlanders and the Delaware State Hornets.

Temple will face NJIT on Friday, August 23, followed by matching up against Delaware St. on Sunday, August 25.

The Owls finished last season with a record of 5-12-3 (2-6-1 Atlantic-10), failing to earn a berth in their conference tournament for the 17th straight season. Several offseason changes, such as an induction into the American Athletic Conference and first year coach Seamus O’Connor, have given the program optimism for a fresh start.

Though it loses eight seniors to graduation, Temple retained a couple of experienced veteran players in fifth-year senior forward Jackie Krostek and senior defender Karly O’Toole.

Temple also returns a large number of sophomore starters including All A-10 Rookie team members defender Erin Lafferty and goalkeeper Shauni Kerkhoff. Lafferty started all 20 games for the Owls in 2012, primarily as a defensive standout, but also recorded a goal. Kerkhoff earned her starting role midway through the season, recording four shutouts and 63 saves in 11 games.

Sophomore midfielder Paige Rachel is another notable sophomore returnees, scoring two goals in 2012.

For NJIT (4-13-3, 2-3), it enters 2013 with a loss of five top goal scorers, who accounted for 11 of it’s 14 total goals last year.

Junior forwards Megan Delavalle and Kylie Jones are the Highlanders leading returners with three total goals scored. Sophomore forward Madeline Griep lead the team with three assist in 2012.

Last season, sophomore goalkeeper Samantha Bersett started all 20 games for NJIT and recorded 115 saves, a .777 save percentage, and four shutouts.

Delaware St. (3-11-1, 2-3) returns 16 letterwinners, including their top two scorers, sophomore forward Taylor Addison and junior forward Chelsea Boursiquot. Addison and Boursiquot combined for six of the team’s nine total scores in 2012.

The Hornets leading goalkeeper junior Katelyn Koslosky also returns, recording 92 saves and a .773 save percentage in 13 games).

In the history of the program, Temple has earned a combined 3-0 record against NJIT and Delaware St.. The most recent matchup came last season against the Highlanders where the Owls won a 1-0 shutout.

Women’s soccer training camp begins this week

In past years, the Owls’ coaching staff says that because players were solely tested on conditioning, upon their return to campus from summer break, the athletes would primarily focus on the fitness test—with little to no time dedicated to the technicalities of their game.

This year, players will be tested on both aspects of the game.

During this summer, the Owls were not only given conditioning drills to run, but technique drills, such as striking, shooting and heading.

“The first three days are the testing,” coach Seamus O’Connor said. “We do physical test and then do technical test, which is their ability with a soccer ball. We’ve never done that before”.

“Now they’ve had to spend as much time on [their technique] as the running part of it. So, those first three days will give us the opportunity to evaluate who did the work during the summer and it’ll help us be able to rank the girls. Those three days will help me with my decisions,” O’Connor added.

In a previous interview, O’Connor voiced his belief in playing the best players regardless of age and for a roster that houses 24 freshman and sophomores, the initial trials will be an opportunity for young players to fill depth chart vacancies.

Players arrive on campus for training camp on August 8.