Temple jumps to sixth in the AAC with 5-1 win against Tulsa on Senior Night

The Owls’ biggest win of the season had significant playoff implications with just one game remaining in the regular season.

Temple defender Rocco Haeufgloeckner begins to make a move on his defender. He played a key role in the Owls' largest win of the season Friday, winning 5-1 against Tulsa. | BRIANNA HILL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

In a game with postseason implications, Temple Men’s Soccer (3-7-4, 2-3-2 American Athletic Conference) defeated Tulsa (4-7-2, 2-4-0 AAC) 5-1 on Friday’s Senior Night at the Temple Sports Complex. 

The Owls earned three points with the win. They moved into sixth place in the AAC standings, which would qualify them for a spot in the AAC Tournament.

Both teams entered the game with losing streaks, with Tulsa losing four matches in a row and Temple losing two. However, both programs are also battling for the final spot in the tournament, so they had a sense of urgency in picking up a win. 

Temple started strongly when in the 15th minute, forward Juan Zepeda struck gold with a kick inside the cramped penalty box, giving the Owls a 1-0 edge.

After minutes of both squads fighting for possession, Temple had one last opportunity to score before the end of the first half. In the 40th minute, forward Xavier Rimpel’s shot was just a foot over the post, barely missing.

At long last, Tulsa flipped the switch. Two minutes later, midfielder Sergio Baena scored a deflected goal, evening the score 1-1. 

With the first half ending in a tie, the Owls were unsatisfied with their slow pace. Head coach Bryan Green urged his team to push harder coming out of the break.

“We tried to be a little bit more aggressive,” Green said. “I thought we’ve been solid defensively, not giving up goals in the run of play. We tried to give a little more pressure in the second half, and I think it paid off.”

It did not take much time for Temple to get back on the winning end of the game. In the 54th minute, midfielder Felix Ewald dribbled from midfield to the penalty box before putting a quick kick into the upper right-hand corner of the goal, taking back the lead.

Temple refused to get comfortable despite their advantage. In the 61st minute, midfielder Elias Betancourt followed up Ewald’s goal with one of his own, assisted by Ewald, putting the team up 3-1 with half an hour left.

The Owls’ offense kept consistent pressure on Tulsa and would not relent. In the 63rd minute, Ewald slid a kick right past the keeper’s hands to put Temple ahead 4-1.

“I think we came out of the locker room really good,” Ewald said. “We were very concentrated, and coach had a great speech to push us.”

Later, after Temple midfielder Lukas Egarter’s free kick did not end in a goal, forward Lucas Hitters shot and scored through the center of the net, securing a 5-1 win. This was Temple’s largest win margin of the year.

For Temple’s last game in the regular season, the team will face No. 4 SMU (11-1-2, 6-0-1 American Athletic Conference) Nov. 1st at 7 p.m. in Dallas, Texas. If they win, they would clinch their first postseason tournament appearance in four years.

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