Owls strike early to beat Fordham

Temple moving closer to postseason appearance.

Facing a couple of elite goaltenders this weekend, men’s soccer coach Dave MacWilliams said the key to coming out on top would be striking first. The Owls did just that Friday against Fordham.

Fourteen minutes into the game, freshman striker Jared Martinelli slipped the ball past Fordham’s sophomore goalie Sean Brailey. Senior midfielder Cody Calafiore got the play started with a corner kick into the box. From there, senior midfielder Homero Rodriquez and Martinelli were able to do the rest. Rodriquez mustered a pass to the standout freshman for his eighth goal of the season.

Martinelli, who has 25 points as a rookie, is three points away from breaking the top ten for most points in a season by an Owl. The last Temple player to amass 25 points was J.T. Noone in 2008, when he finished with 27.

In the 26th minute, junior forward Jake Lister subbed into the game in place of Martinelli. Lister was able to gather a pass from junior midfielder Vaughn Spurrier for his fourth goal of 2012. Spurrier moved into a first-place tie with Martinelli for most assists on the team after registering his ninth helper. Their combined 18 assists in 2012 is the most by a duo in program history.

Temple came out well-prepared for another physical Atlantic 10 Conference bout. The Owls’ defense smother Fordham for much of the game, forcing six of the Rams’ ten shots to go off-target. Their aggressiveness paid dividends all night. Temple committed 14 goals, refusing to let Fordham can any offensive tempo in the process.

The defense protected sophomore goalie Dan Scheck, who made his sixth start of 2012 and recorded his third shutout. Needing to only make four saves on the night, Scheck improved to 3-1-1 on the season, the first in which he has seen significant playing time competing against junior goalie Bobby Rosato. Scheck has allowed just two goals this season while facing 23 shots. He has a .920 save percentage compared to Rosato’s .750.

“I’m confident I can play and make big saves to keep us in games,” Scheck said. “I did a lot of shot-stopping with training most of my days in the summer. The defense has been very good in front of me stopping teams from getting a lot of shots.”

Temple improved to 4-1-2 in A-10 play and 8-5-3 overall. With the impressive all-around win against Fordham, the Owls inched closer to clinching a postseason berth. They are currently ranked fourth in the conference. Their final two games will come against City 6 rivals La Salle and St. Josephs. Tomorrow’s match against the Explorers will feature junior goalie John McCarthy, who leads the A-10 with a .857 save percentage.

Sunday’s game at La Salle, which could be moved up due to the hurricane warnings, is currently scheduled for 1 p.m.

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