Before Saturday’s home match against St. Joseph’s University, the Owls honored senior midfielders Cody Calafiore, Homero Rodriquez and Andrew Dodds, along with workhorse defender Billy Kappock.
With Calafiore unable to play due to a red card he received last weekend against La Salle, it was Dodds who made the most of senior day. With 25 minutes left in the first half, Dodds scored his first goal of 2012 off of a feed from freshman forward Josh Tagland. Tagland played the majority of minutes that were left in Calafiore’s absence.
“It was really special,” Dodds said. “It felt good to finally get the monkey off my back. It sucks that it came so late in the season but I’m glad I was able to do it on such a special day for all my fellow seniors and my best friends.”
On a frigid, windy afternoon at Ambler Campus, sophomore goalie Dan Scheck made his third consecutive start in place of junior Bobby Rosato, who entered the season as the team’s No. 1 option.
“It’s difficult not knowing when you’re going to start,” Scheck said. “You just have to stay mentally focused and ready to go no matter what because you can get the chance whenever, and you gotta make the best.”
Scheck said playing in the cold is always difficult as a goalie.
“It’s not fun,” Scheck said. “You always gotta keep moving and talking to your guys. It keeps you into the game and it keeps you warmer.”
The young, struggling Hawks nearly struck first 10 minutes into the match, when junior forward Ryan Kelly carried the ball into the box and blasted a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar. Temple failed to get back on defense early and often, with St. Joe’s heavily controlling both the ball and the offensive tempo.
Temple eventually regained possession of the ball halfway into the first half, ultimately leading to Dodds’ tally. The match remained 1-0 at halftime in favor of the Owls.
The game remained at a stand still in the early going of the second half. Neither team was able to garner any significant offense pressure. With 35 minutes left, freshman midfielder Jared Martinelli sent a corner kick into the box, but it was alertly cleared away by St. Joe’s.
Dodds was given another chance to score just minutes following the corner kick when he and Rodriquez were unleashed on a two-on-one breakaway. Rodriquez attempted to pass it to Dodds, but a Hawks defender was in position to disrupt it.
With 15 minutes remaining, St. Joe’s registered its best scoring chance of the day. The Hawks shot a ball on goal after catching Scheck out of position. However, Kappock was in the right place at the right time and was able to send it to midfield.
Redshirt sophomore target striker Chas Wilson tacked on an insurance goal with five minutes remaining, and the Owls took the regular season finale 2-0.
Scheck stopped all 12 shots he faced in route to his fifth shutout in seven starts.
With the regular season in the books, the Owls will take a 10-5-3 overall record and an in-conference record of 6-1-2 into the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament next weekend. The Owls will not know who their first-round opponent will be until a series of afternoon games wrap up tomorrow.
Coach Dave MacWilliams said today’s win against St. Joe’s, who finished last in the A-10, was important to maintain momentum heading into the tournament.
“First of all, we wanted to send the seniors off as winners,” MacWilliams said. “We wanted to also keep the momentum going. We haven’t given up a goal in three games, so that was another goal we had today. Today can only help us going into the tournament.”
Tyler Sablich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TySablich.