The Owls defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats 1-0 in double overtime on Saturday at Temple’s Ambler campus in the final game of the regular season.
Twenty-seven seconds into the second overtime, senior midfielder/forward Vaughn Spurrier scored the game-winner, his second go-ahead goal of the year.
“The last goal, all it was, was four years of connections from [senior] Ryan Bradbury and myself,” Spurrier said. “Ryan turned, had a lot of space, and he beat one guy, took it in, looked up, and he knew the run I was going to make, because of the chemistry we’ve built over the years. And then my job was really easy, just passing it in the open goal.”
“I was really happy for those two guys because they’ve done a lot for the program,” coach David MacWilliams said. “All the seven seniors have. And I can’t say enough about those guys, and I’m just happy for those guys, that we were able to extend it, and have another home game on our field [in the conference tournament] for guys that really gave a lot to this program.”
Those seven seniors were emotional about their final regular season game, especially as it came on the heels of a very successful season in a new conference, the American.
“I mean, it’s all coming to an end now,” said defenseman Sawyer Hemmer, who, together with his twin brother Nolan, has been a staple on the team for years. “Hopefully there’s more games to come, we for sure have one game left, so that’s exciting. But just being with this group of guys for four years has been pretty special, and they’re like family now, so it’s good.”
Spurrier teared up when discussing his teammates and everything that the club has been through together.
“Honestly, I’m pretty emotional about it, because over my four years, everybody knows we don’t have the best facilities, we don’t have the best situation, having to come up to Ambler,” Spurrier said. “And that’s nobody’s fault, but it’s just something that we deal with every day. And one of the things that kept me here was playing with all my teammates, and just being able to celebrate at the end with all my guys, it’s the best feeling ever.”
The seniors put on a good showing in the game against Cincinnati, although the Bearcats made it tough for the Owls. Temple held an edge through most of the first half, but then got badly outplayed in the second, with Cincinnati owning the game physically. Towards the end of regulation, however, Cincinnati began to show signs of wearing down, and Temple was in control through the first overtime, before finally ending the game in the second overtime.
“I thought it was a tough game,” MacWilliams said. “I thought Cincinnati made it very difficult for us. I don’t think was played one of our better games this year, and I think it pushed us to the limit. We’re usually pretty good on our home field, and today I don’t think we were as good as we could have been.”
Freshman defenseman Robert Sagel, though, said the win was great to get, and spoke highly of the seniors.
“They’ve deserved every bit of this,” Sagel said. “They’ve set the standard all year. They continue to push us every day.”
“It was a back and forth game” Sagel added, “but I guess at the end of the day the seniors deserved it, so it was thrilling, thrilling.”
Junior goalie Dan Scheck, watching from the opposite end of the field, knew how important the win was to give the team momentum heading into the conference tournament.
“There’s a lot that went on in this game,” Scheck said. “I mean, standing back in goal by yourself and just waiting for that goal, because our whole team knew we needed to win this game. And to do it like that, it was a great feeling after the game, after we won.”
The Owls will play either Memphis or Southern Methodist in the conference quarterfinals next Saturday.
Don McDermott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.