Owls Open A-10 Tournament Thursday vs. La Salle

Owls Open A-10 Tournament Thursday vs. La Salle

No. 4 Temple Owls (9-9-0, 5-4-0) vs. No. 5 La Salle Explorers (6-8-4, 4-2-3)

Date: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Time: 8:30 PM
Location: Hermann Stadium (Saint Louis Unviersity)
Game: Atlantic 10 Championships-First Round
Video Streaming: Atlantic10.com All-Access

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ST. LOUIS, MO. – Less than a week removed from their last head-to-head battle, No. 4 Temple and No. 5 La Salle will clash once again. This time the city-rival schools will ditch their six-mile North Philadelphia radius for Hermann Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. 

The Owls clinched their spot in this year's postseason with their victory over the Explorers last week at the Ambler Sports Complex. Junior Cody Calafiore's first half penalty kick goal was all Temple needed to secure the victory. La Salle, who is the 2010 A-10 runner-up, got into this year's tournament by holding Saint Joseph's scoreless in a 4-0 home win on Sunday.

Thursday will mark the second time these two Philly-based schools have met one another in an A-10 tournament game (2004). All-time, Temple leads the series with the Explorers 46-16-2.

Should the Owls advance, they will face either No. 1 Fordham or  No. 2 George Washington on Friday. 

This year's postseason appearance marks the second straight for the Owls and their third in the last four years. The Owls are looking for their first Atlantic 10 Championship title and are looking to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1985. This is Temple's fifth postseason appearance under head coach David MacWilliams. Under his tutelage, the Owls are 4-4 and have been runners-up for the A-10 title twice (2003, 2004).

Before the teams made their way to Saint Louis University for this weekend's tournament, Temple got its share of players recognized. Most recently, senior Tyler Witmer received A-10 honorable mention for the second straight season when the conference announced its postseason awards on Wednesday. Earlier in the week, sophomore goalkeeper Bobby Rosato was garnered with A-10 Rookie of the Week and Philadelphia Soccer Six Co-Player of the Week.

The Owls are coming off a devastating double-overtime loss to A-10 regular season champion Fordham. Temple and the Rams kept pace with one another in a scoreless match for 106 minutes, until Fordham tallied the deciding goal.

Calafiore finished the regular season as Temple's leading scorer with 14 points, including a career-high six goals. Temple has also received valuable contribution  from Witmer and sophomore Vaughn Spurrier from the offensive end. Rosato has had a solid defense in front of him this season, led by sophomore Jake Lister, junior Billy Kappock and senior Evan Bransdorfer .

La Salle will enter Thursday's contest looking to complete what it wasn't able to complete last season in the A-10 Championships, as it lost to No. 6 Xavier in the final round of the tournament. The Explorers have been playing their best soccer as they've gone down the stretch of their schedule, padding a 4-2-3 record in A-10 play. La Salle hung with A-10 powerhouses Charlotte and then-No. 23 Xavier to earn ties. Their only conference loses have been to Temple and Fordham, who is the top seed in the tournament.

Sophomore Jason Plumhoff is having a breakout season down on 20th and Olney with a team-high 16 points (6 goals and 6 assists). While Plumhoff has led the offense for his team, senior Dan Korenyi and junior Nick Dundon are the only other Explorers to start all 18 games this season, while anchoring the defense for sophomore goalkeeper John McCarthy.

Five Explorers were highlighted on the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Teams, including Plumhoff and McCarthy as selections to the All-Conference Second Team. Dundon and sophomore Jidell Roach earned honorable mention accolades. Rob Friskey was named to the All-Rookie Team.
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