Despite upsetting No. 15 Charlotte, 2-1, Sunday, the men’s soccer team missed the playoffs.
The men’s soccer team (9-7-2 overall, 4-4-1 in Atlantic Ten Conference) defeated No. 15 Charlotte, 2-1, Sunday, in the regular-season finale.
Unfortunately for the Owls, the win against the 49ers (11-3-4 overall, 5-2-2 A-10) came too little too late, as Temple was eliminated from the A-10 Tournament Friday after its loss against Saint Louis. The Owls faced a must-win scenario for both games this weekend to even have a shot at a playoff berth.
“It’s nice that the guys played when we were knocked out of it on Friday,” coach David MacWilliams said. “For them to come with that passion was pretty good. Obviously, it’s bittersweet because I feel my team should be playing in the A-10 Tournament.”
Charlotte scored first, following a Cherry and White ceremony for the team’s seven seniors, but the Owls responded quickly with a goal from senior Francois Sagna. Senior J.T. Noone, Temple’s career leader in assists, nailed a clutch penalty kick prior to the end of the first half to put the Owls up for good.
Overall, Temple’s season mixed a little good with a little bad. Tough losses – shutouts actually – against William and Mary, Old Dominion, Duquesne, La Salle, Fordham and Saint Louis proved critical in deciding the fate of the season. One or two victories from those games could have changed the outcome of an otherwise competitive year.
“Well, I think if we take the whole season, there was only a couple weeks during the season that we struggled, and that was the key to our whole season,” MacWilliams said.
After those two tough weeks, the Owls managed to find their groove and pull off six consecutive wins, including against Albany, Siena and rival Saint Joseph’s, to put themselves back in contention for a possible postseason berth thanks to the offensive combination of sophomore Tyler Witmer and Noone.
“Both of those guys are great guys, great players, and I think they did an awesome job for us,” MacWilliams said.
Noone highlights the departure of seven seniors for the Owls. He will be accompanied by Bryant Hosler, Augustin Coly, Martin Dell’Arciprete, Mike Puppolo and Sagna. The departure of nearly one-third of the team leaves a huge hole, and MacWilliams said it will be “difficult to replace them.”
“You can’t replace J.T.,” MacWilliams said. “I think Marty did a great job. All the players did a great job for us.”
The team will return five juniors next season, including goalkeeper Bret Mollon.
MacWilliams said their consistency and a greater number of goals would be pivotal to the Owls’ 2010 season if they’re to have more success.
Jake Adams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.