When freshmen athletes enter their teams’ locker rooms for the first time, they nervously gaze around, trying to find their niche on teams crowded with experienced players.
Stepping onto a college campus for the first time can also be overwhelming for freshman sport enthusiasts. With so many teams, players and coaches to learn, it’s challenging to acquire a firm knowledge of the university’s sports.
Here’s the basics on each fall sports team for those new to campus this semester.
Like many college campuses, the football team garners the most attention on the fall sports slate, whether it deserves it or not.
First-year coach Al Golden has rejuvenated the team’s attitude by heavily recruiting the region’s top players, running faster-paced practices, and refusing to talk about Temple’s mostly forgettable past.
For those who didn’t know, Temple finished winless last season and has not had a winning season since 1990.
The athletic department has backed Golden with some beefy marketing, even giving him his own television show, aired 10 times throughout the season on Comcast SportsNet.
All the promotions will matter little if the Owls cannot come together on the field. They have their first chance to make some noise Thursday, when they travel to Buffalo to battle the Bulls.
While the football team plays its home games at Lincoln Financial Field, the university’s two best fall teams host games on Main Campus.
A perennial Atlantic-Ten Conference championship contender, the volleyball team has been the most decorated bunch on the fall sports schedule.
They went 23-13 last season to finish with a winning record for the 13th consecutive season. The team made four trips to the NCAA Tournament from 1997 to 2002, but has fallen short in recent years. Junior outer hitter Yue Liu, who captured A-10 First Team honors last season, will try to help the Owls reverse that.
The volleyball team plays in McGonigle Hall, but after this weekend’s Temple Classic tournament, the team doesn’t return home until Sept. 29.
Just a shade away, the field hockey team competes at Geasey Field, the large Astroturf field located at 15th Street.
The Owls have made the A-10 tournament the last two years, losing to eventual champion Richmond each time.
Junior Alli Lokey returns to head the Owls’ scoring attack. The A-10 First Team honoree finished led the team with 22 points and six assists last season.
Lokey will lead an inexperience group. Second-year coach Amanda Janney said this season’s squad will feature a plethora of freshman, as 11 newcomers have made the roster.
The women’s soccer team will also showcase a youth movement. Coach David Jones said the team will start mostly sophomores and freshman as the Owls try to build for the future. The Owls finished below .500 last fall for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons and have not secured a playoff berth since 1995.
Forward Charisma Wright looks to build off of an impressive freshman campaign, in which she led the Owls with five goals, including three game-winners.
The men’s soccer team has faired better in recent years. Though they slipped a bit last season, posting a 6-10-2 record, the Owls proven competitive under coach David MacWilliams.
MacWilliams led the Owls to two consecutive runner-up bids in the A-10 tournament in 2003 and 2004 and has developed two players who went on to be drafted by MLS teams.
The Owls will need to find someone to fill the shoes of former captain Tony Donatelli, who notched six goals and 17 points in his senior season. Midfielders Ryan Heins and Ben Marucci, last seasons’ second and third best scorers, respectively, will be looked to fill that void.
Catching a soccer game can be challenging. Both soccer teams play their home games at the Ambler Sports Complex. To get there, students can take the free Temple shuttle that travels between the campuses.
The best bet to watch the women’s team may be to wait until the team visits its intra-city rivals, then catch the subway or regional railway to the game. The women visit Drexel Sept. 10 and Saint Joseph’s Oct. 6. From this point on, the men’s team plays each of its intra-city rivals at Ambler.
John Kopp can be reached at email@example.com