In the 75th minute, Alex Cagle stopped a long shot by Villanova junior midfielder Lucas Hodges, but the ball bounced off his chest, creating the opportunity for a rebound.
The redshirt-junior goalkeeper scrambled to the ball and fell on top of it to secure the save and gain possession for Temple.
Cagle had four saves in Temple’s 1-0 victory against Philadelphia Soccer Six opponent Villanova on Tuesday at the Temple Sports Complex. Temple (7-3-1, 0-1-1) took the lead in the 22nd minute when senior midfielder Jorge Gomez Sanchez scored on a clear from junior midfielder Brendon Creed.
“I thought the guys really played excellent today,” coach David MacWilliams said. “I thought they did a tremendous job and they just played really well. That’s a very good team, and I thought we were sound defensively.”
This shutout is Cagle’s seventh of the season. He recognizes the work the defenders in front of him have done to help earn the clean sheets.
“We have a solid backline right now,” Cagle said. “We’re all experienced, we’re all upperclassmen, so we all know each other’s tendencies, and then we really increased our communication this year, and that’s helped a lot.”
Creed, senior defender Carlos Moros Gracia and redshirt-junior defender Mark Grasela make up Temple’s back line. Over the past five games, the Owls’ defense has let in only one goal.
“It feels great,” Creed said. “Our job as a backline is to keep our team in the game and make sure the team can score, and we did our job today.”
The Owls held Villanova to eight shots, all of which came in the second half. Meanwhile, Temple’s offense generated its own opportunities, finishing the day with 19 shots and seven on target.
Gomez Sanchez and junior forward and midfielder Joonas Jokinen attacked early in the game and had several scoring chances by the end of the first half. On an early shot, the ball bounced down after hitting the crossbar and barely missed crossing the goal line, keeping the game scoreless.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of games and you have those opportunities, and if you don’t finish it, it always seems to come back and catch up with you at the end,” MacWilliams said. “I thought we could’ve been up two, three nothing at the half, realistically, and we didn’t finish our chances.”
Temple also had a different midfield than it is accustomed to, as all three regular starters were out of the game. Midfielders sophomore Hermann Doerner and senior Kevin Klett were both out with injuries, while freshman Albert Moreno was unable to play due to a suspension from a red card in Saturday’s game against Memphis.
Temple has not lost at home this season, but the Owls will now be tested on a three-game road trip. The first match will be a conference game against Southern Methodist on Saturday in Dallas.
Maura Razanauskas can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @CaptainAMAURAca.