As losing season nears completion, heads still held high

The men’s soccer team just doesn’t quit.

Even after a pair of weekend losses at Ambler Sports Complex to Atlantic Ten Conference opponents Duquesne and Saint Louis, the Owls were still holding their heads high.

And they have good reason to, according to coach David MacWilliams.

“We’re still looking to win games,” MacWilliams said. “Obviously we’re not throwing in the towel. It’s obvious to anyone who watched this game [against St. Louis] that we still came out here and competed.”

The Owls lost 2-0 to the Dukes Friday and finished their final homestand with a 1-0 loss to the Billikens Sunday.

With two games remaining, the Owls are 2-12-1 overall and 1-5-0 in A-10 play.

Neither the Owls nor the Billikens (10-3-2, 6-0-1) were able to find any offensive rhythm in the first half of play.

Both teams had comparable scoring opportunities early in the game, but were unable to put any numbers on the scoreboard.

Twenty-eight minutes into the second period,

St. Louis midfielder Alex Matteson fired a shot into the right side of the net. The Owls had a few scoring chances late in the period, but were unable to respond to the Billikens’ goal.

Despite the loss, the Owls were happy with their performance. The Billikens are ranked No. 11 among Division I teams and sit atop the A-10 standings.

“It was evident that we stepped up against a good team,” senior midfielder Ryan Heins said. “They were one of the top teams last year in the A-10. I think we play a lot better than our record says.”

Sunday’s game marked the last time that Heins, senior forward Jonathan Ball and senior defensemen Matt Maher and Chris Shelton played a game in front of the Temple crowd.

Heins reflected on his four years he spent playing on the team.

“It will definitely be disappointing to leave,” Heins said. “It’s been really fun these past four years.”

Shelton said he felt the same way about his time on the team.

“Well, my first year we went to the A-10 Championship,” he said. “Last year we played well. This year was a little weak, but we had a good coach – it was good times.”

The four agreed to focus on having fun during the two remaining games against Fordham and Saint Bonaventure.

“I just want the freshmen, all those guys, to gain experience,” Heins said. “For the rest of us, the upperclassmen, we just want to have fun.”

MacWilliams said he will be upset to see the four players go.

“They’ve been cornerstones of this program for four years now and it’s definitely going to be tough to replace them,” MacWilliams said.

“They put their heart and soul into it and they made great contributions during the years that they’ve been here.”

But before saying goodbye, MacWilliams said there is a lot of work ahead to prepare for the 2007 season.

“We have to bring in players that are finishers and are looking to score goals,” he said. “We have to get more offensive and we need to get our conference back.”

Melissa DiPento can be reached at

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