As Maiyah Brown raced down the left sideline of Geasey Field, battling multiple Drexel defenders and the blazing sun, she glanced toward the middle of the field and received the ball.
The sophomore rushed into the striking circle and swung, rifling the white ball into the top right corner of the cage.
In Temple’s only scrimmage of the year—a 1-0 defeat of the Dragons—Brown’s goal was the deciding factor.
“She had a perfect opportunity [in the Drexel game], and she capitalized on it,” senior midfielder Sarah Deck said. “It was a pass from the middle of the field outside to her in the circle. She stepped up, big sweep, goal, you know. Maybe in the past she might have gotten a little nervous and tense, and botched the hit, but she stayed with it. That to me was a great indicator of what she is going to produce for the team.”
Brown graduated from William Allen High School in 2014, finishing her high school career with 36 goals and 22 assists as a four-year letter winner. She was named a Lehigh Valley All-Star twice and was an all-area selection as a senior.
The sophomore midfielder/forward was also selected to the USA Field Hockey Women’s National Indoor Team last April, along with former Owl Amber Youtz.
“I think she is very explosive,” coach Marybeth Freeman said. “She loves to have the ball, which is good. She’s learning that she can be equally as threatening and dynamic when she gives a possession pass as well. I think that’s how you develop the overall player.”
Last season, Brown started all 21 of the Owls’ games, totaling one assist and two goals, including the game-winning score in the Owls’ come-from-behind overtime victory against Providence College Oct. 3, 2014.
“I think I have a better field sense [than I did last year],” Brown said. “I obviously knew how to play the game with the skills and things like that, but I think there is more to it, like the mental aspect. I definitely learned a lot from the upperclassmen this year and last year.”
As a freshman last season, Brown attempted 12 shots, putting eight of her attempts on goal.
Deck said Brown, who has put two of her four shots on goal in 94 minutes this season, has become more of a leader during her sophomore campaign.
“It’s very difficult coming in as a freshman with a good skillset because you don’t want to step on the seniors’ shoes at all,” Deck said. “At the same time, you want her to make a statement for herself, and she did that. But now she feels more comfortable with the girls and I think she knows that we expect a lot out of her.”
In the summer, Brown was one of the players on the team who stayed on campus to work out and practice. Freeman said the standard set by Brown this offseason was beneficial to the team.
“The team loves being around her,” Freeman said. “When there’s a positive character like Maiyah on the team, it can only be beneficial for the team as a whole.”
Matt Cockayne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mattcockayne55.
Video shot by Eli Laban and edited by Sean Brown.