PHILADELPHIA – Senior midfielder Matt Crawford scored all three Hawk goals as the Saint Joseph's men's soccer squad (1-0-0, 1-0-0 Soccer Six) defeated Temple (0-1-0, 0-1-0 Soccer Six) in the 2017 season opener for both teams on Friday evening on Sweeney Field.
"I'm really proud of our guys," said head coach Don D'Ambra following the match. "They stayed very focused and very disciplined."
Crawford opened up the scoring in the 32nd minute, as freshman midfielder Alan Kahlenbeck, who had just come into the match one minute and three seconds prior, hit Crawford with a brilliant pass from the right side. The senior tri-captain headed his shot past Temple goalkeeper Alex Cagle to put the Hawks on the board.
Just over a minute later, Crawford blasted a free kick from 25 yards out that found the back of the net once again to give the Hawks a quick 2-0 lead.
Moments later, however, Saint Joseph's senior goalkeeper Greg O'Connell got tagged with a red card (35'), and after Temple's Joonas Jokinen tucked away the penalty kick, the Owls closed in to a one-goal deficit heading into the halftime break.
"Temple is a very good team, and to come out of that playing a man down for 60 minutes and winning 3-1, that's a testament to their mental toughness," added D'Ambra. "They didn't get rattled. I was really proud of them."
Playing with 10 men for the entire second half, the Hawks played strong defense and continued to take chances offensively.
In the 76th minute, those chances paid off as freshman defender Daniel Morales tapped a quick pass over to Crawford, once again 25 yards out. For the third time, Crawford hit the back of the net.
O'Connell (1-0-0, 1-0-0 Soccer Six) made one save in a scoreless 34:36 before senior goalkeeper Trevor Nicol came in for the final 55:24, allowing the immediate PK score but making two outstanding saves in his collegiate debut.
The back line of senior tri-captain Ben Zambetti, junior tri-captain Eddie McCusker, and freshman newcomers David Grana and Morales played tough in the full 90, while rookies Ritchie Barry and Aidan Watkins added full-match efforts in the midfield.
For the match, Temple held a 21-8 advantage in shots, but the Hawks' back line held the Owls offense to just four total shots on goal. Temple also earned seven of the match's eight corner kicks.
Saint Joseph's returns to action this Tuesday, August 29 againts Hartford (0-1-0). Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. on Sweeney Field.
Photos from today's game will be available for purchase at sjuhawksphotos.photoshelter.com.
MATCH NOTES: Matt Crawford's hat trick was the first SJU hat trick since Colin Baker accomplished the feat in 2007... Five of SJU's 11 starters were newcomers in freshman defenders David Grana and Daniel Morales, freshman midfielders Ritchie Barry and Aidan Watkins, and sophomore Dontrim Namani... Sophomore midfielder Matt Mullock played a career-high 49 minutes in his first collegiate start... Freshman midfielder Alan Kahlenbeck earned 60 minutes off the bench... Sophomore transfer forward John Fritz played 21 off the bench in his SJU debut... SJU improves to 15-38-7 all-time against Temple and 2-3 under D'Ambra's direction... Friday night's win is SJU's first over Temple since September 14, 2013... SJU is now 3-4-1 in season openers under D'Ambra's direction.