Earlier this month, men’s soccer coach Dave MacWilliams said freshman midfielder Jared Martinelli had been “everything we expected and more.”
Martinelli, a Mechanicsburg, PA native, continued his stellar rookie campaign by adding three more points to his 2012 stat sheet today against La Salle. In doing so, Martinelli broke into Temple’s top ten for most points in a season.
The Owls, going up against La Salle’s junior goalkeeper John McCarthy, struck first and never looked back. McCarthy brought an Atlantic 10 Conference leading .857 save percentage into the weekend.
MacWilliams said the key in Friday’s match against Fordham and today’s match against La Salle would be to score first. On Friday, they did just that, scoring in the 14th minute before cruising to a 3-0 shutout over the Rams. Today, Martinelli put the Owls on the board first once again.
Nine minutes before halftime, junior midfielder Vaughn Spurrier was able to find a sprinting Martinelli, who beat McCarthy in the left corner. Spurrier registered his tenth assist of 2012 in the process, while Martinelli tallied his ninth goal of the season.
Temple provided solid defensive pressure all afternoon against an Explorers squad that came in with a 8-5-3 overall record and an in-conference record of 2-3-1. The Owls outshot the Explorers 19-11
Five minutes into the second half, Temple struck yet again following a critical foul on La Salle. With the set piece, Martinelli shot a ball that found junior defender Nolan Hemmer for his second goal of the season.
“I was getting frustrated on set pieces because they were man-marking me tight,” Hemmer said. “I finally decided to make a run that I usually don’t and Jared played it across and I flicked it on with my head.”
Spurrier and Martinelli’s combined 20 assists is the most by a duo in Temple history.
Senior striker Homero Rodriquez tacked on an insurance goal with five minutes left in the game, and the Owls went on to knock off La Salle 3-0.
Making his second consecutive start, sophomore goalie Dan Scheck was spectacular. He turned away all eleven shots he faced, in route to his fourth shutout of 2012. Following Friday’s game against Fordham, Scheck alluded to to his newly renowned confidence for his recent success.
“Scheck has been great this season.” Hemmer said. “We are fortunate enough to have two great keepers and no matter who is in we believe we can get a shutout. Scheck has made some big saves when he needs to.”
After its road trip, Temple improved to 9-5-3 overall and 5-1-2 in A-10 play. As the A-10 tournament approaches, the Owls have inched ever closer to clinching a birth. They currently ranked fourth in the conference.
Their final regular season game will be against City 6 rival St. Joseph’s next Saturday at Ambler.