Temple University men’s soccer’s (0-0-1, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) season opener Thursday night on the road against Seton Hall University (0-0-1, 0-0 The Big East conference) ended in a scoreless tie due to the Pirates’ defensive unit and redshirt-freshman goalkeeper Eoin Gawronski’s quick saves.
“They battled,” said head coach Brian Rowland. “We had a game plan, we adjusted at halftime to some systems to make sure we matched up and as we lost some guys through cramp and through injury through the game, guys came in and stepped up and did a great job, so really happy of the competitive and connected nature of the group.”
Seton Hall entered the game ranked 10th in the nation, while Temple was unranked. Prior to this matchup, the teams had not faced off since 1988.
The game went to double overtime, but this was still not enough time to decide a winner. Gawronski made a penalty kick save in the first overtime period at the 96-minute mark, which gave the Owls the opportunity to stay in the game.
“Yeah, he’s been as advertised and just as good as we expected him to be,” Rowland said. “I mean, he makes a huge save on the road penalty in overtime, I mean that’s crazy for him to have that riding. I thought you know him, as well as the collective, did a very good job of mitigating those chances.”
Gawronski made six saves in the shutout tie, including the clutch penalty kick save, to secure the draw as the Pirates notched 17 total shots. The Owls only recorded two shots on goal but posted 11 total shots.
Sophomore forward Mike Eijgendaal recorded the most shots for Temple, with three total and one on goal. Junior midfielder Andres Charles and freshmen forwards Gyuwon Chong and Alex Marin each posted one shot in the match, with Marin adding a shot on goal.
“We’ve recruited really talented players that give us a lot of depth and we utilized that depth today,” Rowland said. “I don’t think that there was a plan to play without some of the guys that we did, but it shows the growth of our program.”
Temple only earned two corners while the Pirates earned seven. There were 18 fouls for each team in this scrappy match and two yellow cards issued to each squad.
“At the end of the day, that’s a very good opponent on the road, and that’s a well-earned point that could serve us well later,” Rowland said. “We play a tough schedule for reasons to prepare the team, and I thought we got better today in a lot of ways, so I think it’s going to help us, and that’s why we play such a strong schedule.”
This tie sets the Owls up nicely as they start the season with a strong result against a talented out of conference team on the road. Last season, Temple opened with a 3-2 win over the University of South Florida, which was also on the road.
“Very pleased with those contributions in that learning and this is a great way to see where guys can help the team and in a real game in a real meaningful battle so from that standpoint happy that we got the depth,” Rowland added.
Temple will now face Rutgers University (1-0, 0-0 The BIG-10 Conference) on Aug. 30 at 7:00 p.m in New Brunswick. Rutgers opened their season with a 2-0 home victory over the University of Delaware (0-1 The Colonial Athletic Association) on Thursday night.