ST. JOE 1
The men’s soccer team had been aiming to rid itself of the offensive woes that had burdened it for much of the season. Those woes include being shut out six times, five of them consecutively.
Mission accomplished.Temple defeated city rival Saint Joseph’s, 2-1, Saturday
at Ambler Sports Complex. In a tightly contested, physical game, the Owls (2-9-1) came out aggressive, scoring both of their goals in the game’s first 17 minutes.
The victory was the Owls’ first since Aug. 2 and first in the Atlantic Ten Conference.
Senior midfielder Ryan Heins received a long outlet pass from junior defender Matt Maher. Heins found freshman midfielder Mike Puppolo, who kicked a laser past Hawks’ goalie Bryan Benedict with 29:18 remaining
in the half.
One minute and six seconds later, the Owls beat Benedict again. This time, freshman midfielder J.T. Noone booted a corner kick to sophomore defender James Suevo, who headed the ball into the goal for a 2-0 lead.
Coach David MacWilliams said the goals spurned the Owls to a higher level of intensity.
“The two goals definitely gave us a boost of confidence because we haven’t been scoring,” he said. “So anytime [we] score, it [makes] us feel good about ourselves.”
This was a rare time that goalie Bryant Hosler was able to play with a lead, thanks to the two quick strikes.
“It helped a lot,” Hosler said of the early goals. “It loosened things up a lot more. So [often] we’re so worried about making a mistake or getting all of the pressure
on the defense, so the two goals helped a lot.”
The Hawks finally got on the scoreboard with about 22 minutes left in the game when a shot by midfielder Tom Johnson to cut the lead to 2-1.
Even with the offensive picking up its’ game, the defense was strong beginning with the play of Hosler. Hosler made only three saves Saturday as the defense held the Hawks to just seven shots. Hosler said the play of the defensemen has a lot to do with his voice.
“Being a goalie, it’s very important to be vocal,” Hosler said. “Being loud and telling the team where to be. I think the guys take it well and they see us working
hard back here, so they work harder up there [on offense].”
A lot of that hard work was shouldered by Heins, whose speed and non-stop motion created havoc for Saint Joseph’s defenders all game. He took seven shots, four of them on goal, and helped establish the game’s tone with an assist on Puppolo’s goal. Heins expects his team’s offensive production to carry over for the remaining games of the season.
“I have a lot of confidence that it will,” he said. “I think this gives us a lot of motivation, especially being a city game.”
The intensity between these two city schools showed, as five yellow cards were issued.
At one point, frustration was so high, a Temple player pushed two Saint Joseph’s players.
“Anytime you have two city schools playing, you’re always going to have that intensity,” MacWilliams said. “It’s almost like brothers fighting each other.”Hosler agreed that stakes were high.
“The game today was very intense,” he said.
“We’re big rival schools and everybody left everything on the field. There’s a lot of stuff out there that’s kind of dirty, but that’s how we are when we play each other. That’s Philadelphia sports.”
Terrance McNeil can be reached at email@example.com.