The 6th ranked Temple Owls continued their winning ways this past weekend, grabbing victories over two top 20 teams. Meanwhile, their Liberty conference rival Rutgers let 2 big upsets slip through their fingers.
The Owls kicked off their weekend with a hard fought 6-4 win over the 10th ranked Towson Tigers. Scott Thompson and Owen Winters scored the eventual go-ahead goals, breaking up a late 4-4 tie. The Tigers clawed back to take a 3-2 lead late in the 2nd quarter after falling behind early, 2-1. But a Towson penalty allowed Zach Scannapieco to find Bailey Haines for a man up goal to tie the game prior to halftime.
The late game saw the Owls take on the 13th ranked Scarlet Knights from Rutgers, who had just given Towson everything they had before falling to the Tigers, 6-5.
An EMO goal by Luke Brennan gave the Owls a slight 3-2 at the break, after the Scarlet Knights had just tied the game at 2 all. Rutgers came out firing early in the 3rd, netting 2 quick goals to take a 4-3 lead. But the owls found their groove late in the 2nd half and rattled off 4 straight goals on their way to a 7-4 final.
Temple Head Coach Chris Berkelbach discussed the upbeat mindset the Owls have displayed during their 2018 campaign. “Hats off to Rutgers and Towson for a great day of lacrosse from start to finish. I’m really proud of our guys for how they battled this weekend. Rutgers was our 11th consecutive road game of the season without a home game. We will finish the season with 14 road games and zero home games. The guys have never complained, and if anything I think all of the travel has brought the team closer together. The long hours spent on the bus are helping to build a tight bond between the guys on our team and I think that bond is manifesting itself on the field with how our team plays. We were trailing during both games Sunday but guys never put their heads down and just stayed focused on the next possession. Things are starting to click in all phases of the game and it all stems from how much these guys care about each other and the team.”
Temple ends their regular season with 3 road games. The Owls travel to Drexel (1-2) on Thursday before heading to Hofstra take on the Pride and the Sleeping Giants from Quinnipiac.
For Rutgers, sitting at 3-1 in the Liberty DI Conference (5-2 overall), this past weekend’s games were great opportunity to add a few major wins to their playoff resume.
Team Captain Alex Slocum talked about letting opportunities slip away, in both games. “We took 2 tough losses but our boys showed heart and proved that we can run with the big dogs. We started out cold against Towson, but behind some stingy defense and stellar goalkeeping by Matt Evans, we took a tie game late into the 4th quarter. Then Towson scores with :11 seconds left and the game was over!”
“After a hot start against Temple, the defense took a few bad penalties which allowed the Owls to comeback. Eventually, they went up 7-4, even though George Bogner made a ton of saves,” Slocum added. “We’re looking forward to facing one of these teams again in the postseason, hopefully next time with a better result. The talent is there we just need to finish putting the pieces together.”
Slocum is hoping the Scarlet Knights stingy defense, which has allowed only 5.37 goals per game, will drive them deep into the playoffs.
Offensively, the Scarlet Knights were led by midfielders Conner Parke, Dakota Wojcik, and Jake Gillen. Attackmen T.J. Coleman and John Krayowski. AJ Schneeloch brought the coowd to its feet with a long pole goal, his 3rd of this season.