Entering this season, two goals were locked inside Alli Lokey’s mind: win an Atlantic Ten Conference championship and beat Richmond.
On Friday, Lokey discovered one of those two goals would have to wait another day, if in fact it would ever come.
The field hockey team, ranked No. 16 in the nation and the favorite to win the A-10, lost, 2-1, to Richmond, a team that had previously won just once this season.
The Owls will not face the Spiders again during the regular season, leaving just a potential rematch in the A-10 tournament for the senior Lokey to finally best the Owls’ long-time nemesis.
The defeat kept Temple searching for its first victory against the Spiders, who improved to 13-0 against the Owls. The loss also dropped Lokey’s personal record versus Richmond to 0-6.
“It is definitely something that I was thinking about before the game, and something that I will continue to think about,” Lokey said. “But the team just has to find a way to get through it and move on.”
Lokey has the Owls prepped to possibly accomplish one of the finest seasons in program history. The midfielder leads the A-10 with 11 goals and six assists. Lokey scored all three goals in the Owls’ 3-1 victory against Saint Louis Sunday, which improved them to 10-5 overall and 1-1 in the A-10.
But for a player that has proven to be one of the best in the conference since her career began in 2004, Lokey has struggled against the Spiders. She has scored only one goal and posted zero assists in her career against them. Her lone goal came last season when the Owls lost to then-No. 17 Richmond, 2-1, in overtime.
Later that year, the Owls fell again to the Spiders, 2-1, in overtime in the A-10 semifinals. The Owls have also lost to Richmond on three different occasions by a score of 4-0 during Lokey’s tenure.
Coach Amanda Janney said Lokey has made it known to her and the rest of the team that she plans on defeating Richmond before graduation.
“She had made a good statement to her teammates that she’s not leaving without beating Richmond,” Janney said. “I think that has helped her leadership, being that determined to be focused on being the best in the A-10. That is a good thing that has led our team. I think that, even though we didn’t win, she will continue to bring that leadership to the team.”
Despite the Spiders’ upset, Lokey said her sights are now set on helping the Owls finish the season strong and, of course, capture that elusive A-10 championship, which Richmond has won the last five years.
“I would like to win the conference championship because it is something that not just me, but the team has been working so hard for and we came so close last season in winning it,” Lokey said.
However, if she never does beat Richmond, or even win an A-10 title, Lokey said she’d like to be remembered as a team player and someone “who is a hard worker, an aggressive player, and someone who cares about the game and her teammates – just someone who never has and never will give up.”
Throughout her career, she has been one of the more consistent players for the Owls, a characteristic that Lokey said comes from her drive and determination to succeed and to become a better player.
As a freshman, Lokey scored one goal and had two assists. The following year, she topped that by totaling eight goals and dishing out six assists. Last season, she arguably had her best season by scoring 10 goals and posting four assists.
Lokey’s teammates have enjoyed playing aside her, especially those that have seen her progress during her stay at Temple.
“She definitely brings intensity to the field that not a lot of athletes can bring,” junior Mary Catherine Kinneman said. “So it’s awesome to play with one of the best players, I think in the A-10. She holds people to a higher level.”
When her time does end on North Broad Street, Lokey said that she will look back in a positive way.
“It definitely has been a great experience overall,” she said, “and playing field hockey is just something that I really love to do.”
Kevin Smiley can be reached at email@example.com.