Hard luck finally ran out for the Temple men’s soccer team as the Owls put together two solid outings this past weekend and won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
With a 3-0 win over LaSalle (2-10-0, 1-6-0) on Friday and a 2-0 victory over Fordham (6-9-0, 3-5-4) on Sunday, the Owls finally picked up their first two Atlantic 10 victories of the season and brought an end to an 11-game losing streak.
In both contests, the Temple defense stymied its opposition, holding both teams scoreless through a combined 180 minutes of play.
More important, the Owls’ offense was firing on all cylinders.
Having struggled to post even one goal per contest for most of the season, the Owls’ offense rebounded strongly this weekend by tallying five goals on 21 shots in the two contests.
“It’s amazing how quickly the momentum can swing,” Temple head coach David MacWilliams said. “Coming into the game against Dayton, I think we only had seven goals all season. Now, we’ve scored seven goals in the last three games alone.”
For the Owls, it was a weekend of firsts, as different players scored each of the five goals and each was their first of the season.
In Friday’s contest against LaSalle, sophomore John Burns opened the scoring when he netted his first career goal on a direct kick in the 39th minute of play. Junior Angelo Di Carlo then made the score 2-0 late in the second half when he took advantage of a LaSalle defensive miscue and scored on a breakaway at the 84-minute mark.
Less than one minute later, Matt Moran sealed the victory for the Owls when he took advantage of another Explorer defensive breakdown and scored on a breakaway to give the Owls the 3-0 victory.
Freshman Cornelius Murphy recorded his first shutout of the season in goal for Temple as he tallied three saves on 12 shots.
Sunday’s contest against Fordham went much the same way for Temple.
The Owls took the early lead against the Rams when freshman Wendell Beres nailed a shot from 20 yards out over the head of goalkeeper Devin Moore. The goal came in the 26th minute of play and was assisted by junior Jeff Fisher.
Fisher then gave the Owls a 2-0 lead as he scored on a breakaway at the 41-minute mark of the first half. Moran was credited with an assist on the goal.
That proved to be all the offense that the Owls needed. Temple’s defense held the Rams in check all game, allowing only five shots on goal in the contest.
In net, Murphy provided Temple with another solid effort as he recorded three saves en route to his second shutout in as many games.
Considering that the Owls had little to play for since their playoff hopes evaporated in the wake of two losses last week, the two victories were a testament to the players’ never-say-die attitude.
“It’s a credit to these guys,” MacWilliams said. “They could have just as easily quit and given up on these last couple of games, but they came out fighting and showed a lot of heart. The effort has been there all season, so it’s nice to finally get the results.”
With the two victories, the Owls improved their record to 3-11-0 overall and 2-6-0 in the A-10.
Temple will look to wrap up its season on a winning note as the Owls close out their schedule with two home games this weekend. The Owls face A-10 rival Duquesne this Friday at 2:30 p.m. and St. Bonaventure this Sunday at 1 p.m. at Temple Stadium.