Women’s Basketball Wins Close Big 5 Battle Against St. Joe’s

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PHILADELPHIA- The Owls pulled out an impressive victory against undefeated St. Joe’s in a close and highly competitive Philadelphia Big 5 matchup.


Coming off a disappointing loss vs Ole Miss, the Owls came out flat in the first quarter, only managing 9 points and turning over the basketball 7 times. The Hawks looked poised for an easy win, but the Owls bounced back and had the game tied all up at 30 come halftime. It wasn’t easy, but Temple eked out a 69-66 with clutch free throws and tight defense to hold off a potential comeback from St. Joe’s.


Head Coach Tonya Cardoza said this about what clicked for the Owls after a tough first quarter, “Picking up the pace of the game. We are better when we are faster and being aggressive. And then defensively, when we are a lot faster and a lot quicker, even when their guys are open, we were quick enough to catch up to them and get them out of their rhythm.


Cardoza also believes that tough competitive Big 5 games, should prepare the Owls for further tests along the road. “It doesn’t matter what someone’s record is, the game is always intense.”

Courtesy OwlSports


Tanya Atkinson again led the way for the Owls and registered yet another double-double. Atkinson has 24 points on 8 of 20 shooting, with 13 rebounds, and a clutch layup in the closing seconds of the game. Atkinson said that it “feels good” to be given the final shot  and that she’s “matured and grown enough to be put in that position that even when I do miss, I know they still have my back.”


Mia Davis also registered a double-double, adding 15 points, along with 13 rebounds. Deja Reynold scored a career-high 12 points and hit two clutch free throws with 7 seconds remaining to give the Owls their 69-66 lead.


The Owls did happen to give a lot of baskets inside, but they outrebounded the Hawks, 50-40, and were able to neutralize the three-point scoring abilities of St. Joe’s. Coming into the game, the Hawks were shooting more than 50% from the three-point line, tonight, they were 1 of 10, and coach Cardoza credits that to the defense of freshman, Emani Mayo. Even though Mayo was 1-11 from the field, Cardoza views her as somebody who can defend anyone because she always sticks to and knows her assignment.


After a rough start, the Owls were able to bounce back and take control of the game. When they play their style of basketball, fast-paced, they are a hard team to beat.


The Owls now sitting at 5-2, will take on Harvard at McGonigle Hall on Saturday afternoon.


Owls Fall to Rutgers 84-67

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PHILADELPHIA- The Owls were completely overmatched in their second game of the season at home vs the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, but his game could be a learning opportunity for the younger players.


Coming off an exciting home opener win vs. Delaware State, the Owls looked poised for a strong start to their season, but the Scarlet Knights had other ideas. Temple fell 84-67, in a game that was not as close as the score ensued. 

2017_02_01 WBB vs UConn


Head Coach Tonya Cardoza was not pleased with the result of tonight’s game, “the two most important things against Rutgers was making sure we took care of the basketball and not allowing them to get second-chance opportunities, and we did not do a good job of that, we gave up 40 points in that area, and 28 points off of turnovers.”


Coach Tonya Cardoza said after their win vs. Delaware State that the team had set a goal for themselves to have less than 15 turnovers per game. With Rutgers playing full-court pressure the entire game, they were able to force the Owls into bad passes, and bait them into having 23 turnovers.


When asked how frustrating it was to turn over the ball 23 times, Cardoza said, “It is really frustrating, especially with how easy we break the press, so to know how easy it is and revert and do something different from that, that’s frustrating. She knew they would turn the ball over just because it happens in basketball and with Rutgers’ defensive style of play, but she did not think they would turn over the basketball 23 times.


Tanaya Atkinson registered her second double-double of the season, by leading all scorers with 30 points and 13 rebounds. Atkinson kept the Owls in the game, by coming out firing in the 2nd half and scoring 8 straight uncontested points. She left the game, grimacing in pain and did not return, but later said it was just a “cramp”.


Mia Davis scored 13 of her own and was 1 rebound shy of matching Atkinson’s double-double.


The Owls dug themselves in a hole after the first quarter, being down 24-13. The Scarlet Knights never looked back and took advantage of the Owls miscues, by scoring 28 points off of their 23 turnovers.


At halftime, the Owls were down 45-24 and the game looked destined for a blowout, but they came out of the gate in the 2nd-half looking to fight back. Led by Tanaya Atkinson strong 3rd quarter performance of scoring 16 points, the Owls fought back and cut the lead down to 7. Cardoza was happy to see her team show some life and some effort in the 2nd-half and prove they would not go down without a fight.


The Owls were only able to close the gap to 7, as the full court pressure and depth of Scarlet Knights rotation was just too much for an Owls team that only had two players playing particularly well.


The Owls look to bounce back this Thursday night as they take on the Wagner Seahawks, who are coming off two consecutive losses, at 7:00 PM at McGonigle Hall.


Men’s Soccer Falls to #1 SMU

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DALLAS- In the American Athletic Conference semifinals Friday night, the Owls season came to a close as they were defeated by #1 seed, SMU, who will advance to the the AAC Finals to take on UCF.

Less than three minutes into the game, SMU struck first with a goal from Emil Cuello to make the game 1-0.

In the fourth minute, SMU was awarded a free kick off a Darri Sigthorsson yellow card. SMU’s Bryce Clark connected with Jordan Cano for the Mustangs’ 2nd goal and to break open the floodgates.

Sigthorsson was issued a 2nd yellow card in the 34th minute and promptly ejected from the game, putting the Owls in a two goal deficit with only having 10-men on the field.

Courtesy OwlSports

SMU scored two more 2nd-half goals and put the game out of reach. The Owls were not dominated on the stats sheet, but two quick goals and being down one man did them in. The Mustangs outshot the Owls only 11-9, but SMU dominated the game itself. The two quick and early goals were too much for the Owls to overcome in the end.

As the Owls look back on their season, they can keep their heads up. After starting off 2-5-1, they turned their season around and were able to get themselves into the playoffs only to fall to SMU yet again. SMU grabbed their 7th consecutive shutout, as the last time they allowed a goal was vs. the Owls in October.

Temple Men’s Soccer vs. USF Game Preview

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PHILADELPHIA- With a win on Senior Night, the Owls will be in the American Athletic Conference Playoffs. A team that started off at 2-5-1 and looked finished, is now standing at 8-7-1 and destined for a playoff run with a victory tomorrow night.

Eights seniors will be honored in a ceremony before the game. Seniors such as Alex Cagle, Divin Fula Lozolo, Matt Sullivan, Joonas Jokinen, Brendon Creed, Mark Grasela Tim Rudy, and Albert Moreno, will be honored in a pre-game ceremony for their contributions over the past four seasons to Temple Men’s Soccer.

Beating USF will be no easy task. The Bulls stand at a 6-5-4 record and have also not secured a playoff spot, which they can do with a win. 4 teams remain ahead of Temple in the AAC standings: UCF, SMU, UConn, and of course, USF. Both teams need to win to lock in a playoff spot, so it will be a tough battle and game between the two. The Owls are 0-4-1 against the Bulls and suffered a 1-0 loss to them in 2016.

Courtesy OwlSports

Temple will look to their leading goal scorers in Thibault Candia and Alan Camacho Soto to lead them past USF and their fantastic goalkeeper, Christian Knight. Knight held the Bulls’ ranked opponents scoreless with a career-high 15 saves and has 3 shutouts on the season. In order to get a spot into postseason play, Temple will look for leadership from their 8 seniors, who may be playing their final games, and goal scoring abilities from Candia and Soto to lead them to a victory over Knight and the Bulls.

Temple is coming off a 1-0 loss to UCF, while USF is coming off a tie with #12 SMU. Both teams look to clinch a postseason appearance at the Temple Sports Complex, tomorrow night, at 7 PM.

Men’s Soccer Falls 1-0 at UCF

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In a pivotal conference matchup, the Owls were unable to knock off UCF as they failed to overcome the overwhelming presence of the Knights defense. The Owls were unable to score even though they had several opportunities to take the lead or even up the score. A 49th minute goal was the difference in a very tough game for both sides.

Courtesy OwlSports

The two teams played a defensive oriented matchup for the first 45 minutes. In the 49th minute of the game, the Knights found the back of the net on a goal from Mattias Pyysalo, his 11th of the season. He beat Temple goalie, Michael Samnik, on a goal placed in the top corner of the net. Samnik recorded two saves over the course of the game and stopped the Knights from scoring with four seconds left.

The Owls and Knights were even in terms of shots, both recording 10 shots each. Temple had their opportunities to score, but fell short. A scoring chance in the 84th minute arose as senior defenseman, Mark Grasela, had a free kick, with an opportunity to tie the game. Hi

s shot just went high of the net as he just barely missed giving the Owls a much needed tie.

Standing at 8-7-1, the Owls will play in a must win game at home vs USF, in order to have a chance to play in the American Athletic Conference semifinals. The Owls will finish out their regular season at home against USF on Saturday, November 4th at 7 PM. On senior night, the Owls will honor their seven seniors in a pre-game ceremony.


Temple Takes Down NJIT

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PHILADELPHIA- In a matchup of non-conference play, Temple Men’s Soccer took down NJIT by a score of 3-1 to improve their overall record to 7-6-1 and finally get the team record over .500.

In a rather defensive matchup, the two teams remained scoreless up until the 40th minute. The Owls first goal came off a defensive turnover, which was stolen by junior, Jordan Wix Rauch. Wix Rauch proceeded to put the ball in the bottom right corner of the goal, past the diving NJIT goalie.

The Owls scored again midway through the 2nd half on a free kick outside the box. The free kick from Divin Fula Luzolo was played right at the feet of Brendon Creed, who had no problem finishing it for the 2nd goal of the game for the Owls.

Courtesy OwlSports

The Owls never looked back as that 2nd goal was enough to command their 7th victory of the season. The Owls dominated NJIT as they outshot the Highlanders 16-9.

In the 72nd minute, Fula Luzolo scored the Owls 3rd and final goal, to go along with his assist earlier in the half. In the last minute of the game, however, the Highlanders scored to spoil a 3-0 Owls shutout, but the Owls hung on for a 3-1 victory and another win at home.

“It was definitely a momentum builder,” said Temple head coach David MacWilliams after the game. “I think we frustrated them today”

The Owls will host their final home game of the season on Sunday, November 4th against the University of Central Florida. The Owls will recognize their 7 seniors prior to the game in honor of Senior Night.

SportsDesk Spotlight: Men’s Soccer Michael Samnik

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As a sophomore and current starting goalkeeper, Michael Samnik has made the most of his opportunity as a starter, with a 3-2 record to show for it.
Samnik, in High School, was a captain, MVP, and earned 2nd team All-Regional in his Senior year. He also was the first freshman to play on varsity in his High School’s history. Now, he has finally been able to show the Owls what he is made of.

Courtesy OwlSports

The 6 foot 5 goalkeeper from Atlanta, Georgia lets his height play to his advantage, “It definitely helps to my advantage, make the angles a lot smaller. Makes me more of an aerial threat so people aren’t scoring off set pieces.”
Since Samnik has taken over at goalie,and the team has seen immediate success. Samnik believes there are a few keys to the team’s recent success. “Scoring early and that takes the weight off my shoulders, at the same time to be able to keep shutouts in two consecutive games has been big. Also the relationship I have with my defense and the connection we have is key.”
Samnik believes this Owls team is on the right path and can see them finishing first or second in the conference if they keep up these solid performances because nobody has really taken a step ahead in conference play.
After receiving the honor of Philadelphia 6 defender of the week last week, Samnik was very pleased and said his family found out before he did. “It felt Phenomenal to win it. I didn’t even know the news, I saw text messages from family members saying congrats. I want to keep that going and keep winning awards and keep up the success this year, and the remaining two years I have at Temple.”
As for the his starting goal-keeping position, Samnik hopes that he will get to keep it for his next couple of years at Temple. “ I hope to keep it through leadership, and I’m a vocal guy, everyone respects me on and off the field. Let my performance honestly speak for itself.”

Men’s Soccer Falls to #25 SMU

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PHILADELPHIA- Men’s soccer suffered a tough loss at home to #25 SMU on Saturday night thanks to some late goal scoring heroics for the Mustangs. The Owls fall to 5-6-1 on the season, while 1-2 in American Conference play.

In a game that was very physical and chippy, there was no shortage of fouls or whistles. The game was a tight defensive game from the start, with each team waiting for the other to make a mistake. The Mustangs got on the board 20 minutes into the game with a long range shot from outside the box to stun the Owls, who were playing a very tight knit defensive game up until that point.


With 48 minutes into the game and 3 minutes removed from halftime, Divin Fula Lozolo scored his first goal of the season from a shot from 30 yards out to put the Owls on the board and tie the game at 1 a piece.


The Owls outshot the Mustangs in the 2nd half, 9-5 after being outshot 6-3 in the first half. There were plenty of opportunities for the Owls to take the lead in the 2nd half, but they could just not get a shot in the back of the net.


The Mustangs scored a header off a cross in the 79th minute. The Owls stayed with the Mustangs the entirety of the game and played to a higher level of competition,


Head Coach, David MacWilliams, was not happy with his team’s overall effort in the first half, “I thought we played well, but I think we just have to regroup. I was not pleased with the first half, so we changed formation to add more help to offense. We came out into the second half with some great chances, but you can’t make mistakes against a conference opponent.”


The Owls next game is another conference matchup, next Saturday at 7 PM at home vs the Cincinnati Bearcats. As the Owls look to improve their overall conference record.

Men’s Soccer Wins First Conference Game vs. Memphis

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MEMPHIS– After shutting out Penn State at home, the Owls continued their recent winning surge by defeating the Memphis Tigers 2-1 in double overtime. The Owls were able to win their first conference game of the season thanks to the goalscoring efforts of freshman, Alan Soto Camacho .

Minutes into the second overtime, Camacho found the back of the net for his second goal of the game and an Owls victory. // Courtesy: Temple Athletics

Their first conference victory of the season now puts the Owls at 4-5-1 and back on track after starting off the season so poorly. Their recent winning surge has been due to the offense clicking on all cylinders, with freshman like Alan Soto Camacho leading the way.

The first half was a heavily contested battle with the Tigers leading the Owls in shots 6-3, and each goalie having 1 save a piece. Memphis dominated the first half, but were unable to capitalize on opportunities and the scoreboard reflected that.

In the 62nd minute of the game, Temple were awarded a penalty shot in the box after a foul. Soto Camacho took the penalty shot and put in the back of the net to give the Owls a 1-0 lead and rightfully earning his 2nd goal of the season. Temple proceeded to dominate the game statistically by outshooting the Tigers 10-4 the rest of the way.

With nine seconds remaining in the game, Memphis’ Ben Roberts scored to tie the game and break Owl’s hearts. They were nine ticks away from a shutout win on the road in a big conference game. Roberts late game heroics forced an overtime period.

After both teams failed to score a goal in the first period of overtime, a double-overtime was needed. In the second overtime period, Alan Soto Camacho had a two-two play, and took a long range shot to earn his third goal of the season and give the Owls their most important victory to date. With Soto Camacho’s heroics, the Owls have now won their last 3 out of 4 games.

On Tuesday, October 3rd at 7 PM, the Owls will host Drexel at the Temple Sports Complex, looking for their third consecutive win.

SportsDesk Spotlight: Men’s Soccer’s Mark Grasela

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As a senior and current captain/leader on Men’s Soccer, Mark Grasela has been able to see his team and himself grow before his very eyes.

“Over the past four years, it’s been crazy. When I first got here, I felt so much pressure as freshman looking at the seniors then. Now, I am that senior, trying to make sure that these freshmen have a path to succeed”

Grasela, a Philadelphia native, enjoys the aspect of being able to play in his hometown.

Courtesy OwlSports

“It’s awesome being able to play for my hometown team. All my friends and family come out to watch my games. A lot of people I grew up with play for Penn and La Salle and it creates a good rivalry to have.”

Starting in the 2015 season, Grasela started to show how valuable of a defender he could be for the Owls. He was a key defender in a back line that only allowed 8 goals at home. In the 2016 season, Grasela appeared and started in all 18 games. He also played a key role in why the Owls only allowed 3 goals all season at home, leading to an unbeaten home record.

The Owls have struggled out of the gate at 2-5-1 and in four of their five losses, they have not recorded a goal. Getting into a defensive stalemates can be, “Very frustrating, puts more pressure on us (the defenders) to not make a mistake. When two defenses are playing strong, first one to make a mistake is the one that ends up losing” says Grasela. Although the Owls are having a hard start, Grasela has confidence in the team’s ability.

“I think we are gonna turn things around. Played well vs Duquesne (4-1win)  have a lot of freshman starting and they are starting to figure it out. Conference play will be big for us.”

Grasela (right) // Credit: BrotherlyGame.com

Despite the rough start for the Owls, Grasela has been able to step up and lead the Temple defense. In the first week of play, Mark Grasela was named the Philly Soccer Six Defender of the week.

” It is a good accomplishment. I did not get much recognition my first couple of years. Feels great and to get my first goal and get that kind of recognition from this city”

Grasela, when asked about playing professionally beyond this season, was rather hesitant, “Never really thought about it, but probably not. I’ve seen some really good players during my time at Temple not make it, it’s not easy.”

For now, Grasela and his teammates are focused on getting this season turned around, especially with the emergence of conference play and the current AAC standings.