AMBLER, Pa. – Temple Men's Soccer broke away from a four-way tie for sixth place in the Atlantic 10 standings on Friday, as it defeated the La Salle Explorers, 1-0, on junior Cody Calafiore's game-winning penalty kick in the 36th minute at the Ambler Sports Complex. Now 5-3-0 with 15 points in the A-10 standings, Temple is in strong position for making a postseason appearance in next week's A- 10 Championships in St. Louis.
Calafiore tallied his career-high sixth goal of the season to increase his team-lead in points with 14 on the year, which ties his point total from a year ago. His goal in Friday's game marked the fourth time this season that he's won a game for the Owls on a penalty kick.
Sophomore goalkeeper Bobby Rosato was stellar in net and played up to the competition he faced from his counterpart La Salle sophomore John McCarthy.
Rosato turned away six shots by the Explorers, four of which were pelted by sophomore Jason Plumhoff. With the team's latest shutout victory, Rosato has five unscored upon games in 2011 and has held opponents scoreless in back-to-back games for the second time this season.
La Salle outshot Temple 20-13 in the match, but the strong defensive on both sides kept the game's damage to a minimum. Plumhoff finished with a game-high 10 shots, while Witmer led the Owls with four. Physicality also contributed to the winning effort for the Owls, as they led the foul count, 17-7, for the game.
With several implications still on the line to determine the field for next week's A-10 Championships, the Owls will wait to for the rest of the A-10 schedule to be played out Friday and Saturday evening in order to get a better indication on their status.
From here, the Owls get ready for the regular season finale when they host the Fordham Rams at the Ambler Sports Complex on Sunday afternoon beginning at 1:00 p.m. Prior to kicking off, the Temple Athletic Department will honor the team's three seniors: Rodrigo Zuleta, Evan Bransdorfer and Tyler Witmer—promptly at 12:45 p.m.
Highlighting the 2011 Senior Class
Rodrigo Zuleta: As a sophomore, he participated in 16 games, where he gathered an assist and registered six shots. That same season, he also was named to the Temple University Director's Honor Roll.
Evan Bransdorfer: Last season, he saw action in 18 games and scored the team's only goal in a win over Drexel. He also dished out an assist in the Owls' first A-10 win of the 2010 season against Saint Joseph's.
Tyler Witmer: Playing as a freshman, he was garnered with NSCAA second team honors and Soccer Seven's Bill Wilkinson Freshman of the Year award. Last season, he led the team in scoring for a third straight season and received A-10 Honorable Mention. As a senior, he scored the game-winning goal that led the Owls to victory at Howard back on Oct. 1.
About Fordham: The Fordham Rams (9-6-1, 5-2-0) are coming off a 4-0 blowout win last Friday at home against La Salle. The game was senior day for Fordham and senior Aaron Markowitz had a pair of goals for the Rams to help lead them to victory on the last home game of the season. Fordham is receiving national attention. In the latest NSCAA national rankings, Fordham began receiving votes for the Top 25. They are currently slotted as the No. 2 ranked team in the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Fordham has gone through some tough competition this season with facing three top 25 opponents. On Sept. 9, they went on the road to No. 5 Creighton and lost 1-0. The month of October brought Fordham two victories against ranked opponents. On Oct. 7, Fordham upset No. 23 Xavier on the road 1-0; before it defeated No. 10 Charlotte 1-0 at home back on Oct. 23.
The Rams' offense is led by John Niyonsaba and Matt Courtenay, as each have tallied three goals apiece. Niyonsaba is the team leader in points with nine points (three goals, three assists). The Fordham's defense is led by goalkeeper Ryan Meara, who holds an impressive 0.59 goals against average, which ranks him 10th in the nation, and first in the A-10. Teams have found it hard to score on him all season saving 60 of 69 shots on goal and posting nine shutouts.