Following a five-goal season and playing in 14-of-17 games as a freshman, Summer Jaros spent her summer preparing for a breakout sophomore season as an attacker.
She began weightlifting for the first time, following a workout program created by assistant coach Claire Hubbard and assistant strength and conditioning coach Sam Whitney.
Her plans changed during a scrimmage in the fall of 2013. With the team in need of defenders because of fatigue and injury, Jaros volunteered for the switch to defense.
“She went in and she was just awesome,” coach Bonnie Rosen said. “Caused turnovers everywhere, great defense everywhere and we thought, ‘Maybe we found actually a defender.’”
Jaros moved to the midfield for the 2014 season and has been a defender for the past two seasons, serving as the primary draw taker for the team.
Through 14 games, she has collected 15 ground balls, caused nine turnovers and ranks third on the team with 18 draw controls.
The 5-foot-10-inch West Chester, Pennsylvania native committed to Temple as an attacker after her junior season at Bishop Shanahan High School.
Jaros earned several accolades in high school, making the ESPN’s “watch list” for prospects as a junior and senior. She set a single-season school record, scoring 67 goals in her senior year to earn third team all Ches-Mont League honors.
“She was a strong one-v-one, as you can see,” senior attacker Kathryn Skahan, who played with Jaros at Bishop Shanahan and PA Express. “Like when defensively we need some defender to bring it up the field, we usually go to her. So you can kind of see a glimpse of her power when she’s running the ball up the field.”
To help transition to playing defense, Jaros looked to Kara Stroup and Maddie McTigue, who each started on defense as freshmen, and Nina Falcone, a graduate defender on the 2014 team.
Falcone would critique all of Jaros’ repetitions in practice, while Stroup, McTigue and other defenders helped her adjust to players that were faster and more physical than the ones she faced in high school.
“It was really hard,” Jaros said. “You can ask any of my teammates. There were a couple laughs at times just because I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off … I really owe it all to my team for the player that I’ve become.”
In fall 2014, Jaros began to learn how to take draws.
She worked for at least 45 minutes three times per week with graduate assistant coach Molly Fernandez to practice tracking the ball and facing pressure. Jaros led the team with 37 draw controls in 2015.
This season the Owls are tied-No. 21 in Division I and No. 1 in the Big East in draw controls per game.
“I probably have never coached another player that when she sets her mind to learning or doing something, she gets it done and does it at a high level,” Rosen said. “She asserted herself to learn how to take the draw and now she’s become our draw person. We’ve offered opportunities, but she’s jumped at those opportunities and worked at those things to become good.”
Though Jaros has transitioned into her role as a defender, she sometimes misses being an attacker.
“I try to get the ball as much as I can and run it over to attack, and in practice I try to sneak into the attack lines to get some shots off,” Jaros said. “I love shooting and I miss it.”
Evan Easterling can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Evan_Easterling.