“We don’t lose at home,” junior midfielder Brendon Creed said. “Temple doesn’t lose at home. This is Temple, this is our house.”
These words held true on Tuesday as the Owls (6-3-1, 0-1-1 American Athletic Conference) took care of Philadelphia Soccer Six rival Villanova 1-0. The Owls are undefeated at home since moving to Main Campus and haven’t lost a home game since Oct. 21, 2015 at the Ambler Sports Complex.
Temple controlled the game from start to finish, outshooting the Wildcats 14-0 in the first half. The Owls’ defense held Villanova to just eight shots. Redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Cagle, who made four vital saves in the second half, was quick to deflect the credit for the win from himself to the defense.
“It’s more of a testament to the back line than me,” Cagle said. “The back line really just makes sure that the other team comes nowhere near me and they’ve been doing a great job of that lately.”
Cagle and the back line led the charge as Temple earned its third shutout in a row and fourth in five games. They now have seven shutouts on the season. Cagle’s play during this hot streak earned him the Philadelphia Soccer Six Defensive Player of the Week award for the week ending on Oct. 3. He also won The American’s Goalkeeper of the Week award for the second time this season.
The Brookfield, Wisconsin native made 13 saves last week, including a career-high nine stops in the team’s road win against Penn State.
“Cagle has been excellent,” coach David MacWilliams said. “I don’t know how many shutouts we’ve had but I think we’ve had three in the last three games and last four out of five so he’s done a great job for us.”
The win against the Wildcats was Temple’s final game this year against a Soccer Six opponent. The Soccer Six, which is soccer’s equivalent to the Big 5 in basketball, includes Temple, Villanova, St. Joseph’s, Penn, La Salle and Drexel.
Last year, Temple earned a share of the Soccer Six title. With wins this year against Villanova and St. Joseph’s and an overtime loss on the road to Drexel, the Owls may be able to do the same this season.
Like the Big 5 matchups, Soccer Six games are known for intensity and competitiveness no matter the two teams’ records. The intra-city rivalries are personal to each team and bring out the best in competition.
“You know it’s going to be a battle playing a rival schools,” MacWilliams said. “The kids know one another and the coaches know one another. It’s a battle, it’s great, and it’s competitive all the time.”
Graham Foley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @graham_foley3.