Men’s soccer limits one of D-I’s top scorers against NJIT

Three upperclassmen scored goals for the Owls in their 3-1 win against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Monday at the Temple Sports Complex.

Senior midfielder Divin Fula Luzolo fights for a loose ball in the Owls' 3-0 win against Penn State on Sept. 27 at the Temple Sports Complex. | JAMIE COTTRELL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Senior midfielder Divin Fula Luzolo blocked a shot, stole the ball and dribbled upfield in the 71st minute.

Fula Luzolo, one of three players to start every game this season, passed near midfield and received a return pass shortly after. He ended the play with his second goal of the season with 28 minutes, 38 seconds left Tuesday. He also had an assist in the second half of Temple’s 3-1 win against the New Jersey Institute of Technology at the Temple Sports Complex.

The Owls closed out their four-game homestand, the longest of the season, with their third victory. After losing its conference opener to Connecticut on Sept. 23, Temple (7-6-1, 2-2 American Athletic Conference) has won five of its past six games.

“It felt really good since we got the win and I’m very happy,” Fula Luzolo said.

Temple made crucial substitutions midway through the first half that sparked the game’s first goal.

After coming off the bench, junior forward and midfielder Jordan Wix Rauch stole the ball in the Owls’ offensive zone. He dribbled toward the goal and connected, placing the shot in the bottom right corner of the goal in the 40th minute.

Temple has a 7-0-1 record when it scores first.

“It brings a sense of confidence to the team,” Wix Rauch said. “And everyone’s feeling good when we score first.”

Temple came out fighting in the second half, looking to expand its lead quickly. After senior forward and midfielder Joonas Jokinen drew a foul in the 51st minute, Fula Luzolo connected with senior midfielder Brendon Creed directly off the ensuing free kick. Creed buried the ball in the lower left corner to make it a two-goal game.

Temple limited Highlanders senior forward Mamadou Guirassy — who is tied as Division I’s leading scorer — to one goal with less than five left in the game. Guirassy only had one other shot in the contest. Creed and redshirt-senior Mark Grasela “did a good job to keep him quiet,” coach David MacWilliams said.

The Owls struggled to retain possession early in the game and consistently played defense for the first four minutes. Temple settled in to hold the Highlanders scoreless in the first 45 minutes. The Owls only conceded two shots, one of which was on goal. Temple committed 11 fouls, seven of which were in a sloppy first half.

The Owls will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday to face the Golden Hurricane.

The Owls are fourth in The American’s standings, while Tulsa sits in seventh. The top four teams qualify for the conference tournament.

“The team is playing well,” Wix Rauch said. “We gotta keep the momentum going into the weekend.”

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