When Alyssa Delp committed to Temple last year, she said she never would have expected to be second on the team in goals more than halfway through her freshman season.
“I definitely didn’t think I’d be starting coming into this season,” Delp said. “I thought that I’d be a good bench player, to come off the bench and do my job.”
The Fleetwood, Pa., native has proven herself wrong. Delp has scored eight goals, including three game winners, while starting in all 12 games.
Although Delp said she was just at the right place at the right time for many of these goals, coach Amanda Janney said Delp’s talent outweighs her luck.
“[Delp] is flat out fast, and I love her aggressive play,” Janney said. “[Delp] kind of has that scrappy play that she never gives up and she plays hard.”
Coming out of Fleetwood High School, the freshman forward was a standout two-sport athlete in soccer and field hockey.
Delp said that soccer was her favorite sport, until a bet from a friend led her to change her path.
“I started playing field hockey in seventh grade when a friend dared me to play, because I had always been a soccer player,” Delp said. “So she just kind of dared me to play because she wanted a friend to do it with.”
Delp continued to play both field hockey and soccer, but in high school, her field hockey career took the front seat.
Although she earned All-Division Honors in Berks County, Pa., at soccer, Delp shined on the field hockey pitch. She earned First Team All-State honors in her junior and senior year, Berks County Player of the Year in her senior year, along with being a three-time All-County selection.
When mulling over her plans after high school, Delp said she was torn whether to pursue playing soccer or field hockey in college.
“I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, because I loved both soccer and field hockey equally,” Delp said. “But I was on both soccer and field hockey clubs and I started getting more emails from college coaches about field hockey.”
Delp’s club team, High Styx, were the 2010 NIT Champions, and both the Festival Champions and the Keystone Summer Games Champions for the Blue Mountain Region in 2011.
Delp said when she saw the opportunities rising in field hockey, she completely committed herself to it. In recruiting Delp, Janney said the prestige of her club teams attracted the coach to try and bring Delp to North Philadelphia.
“The club team that [Delp] played for, High Styx, is a club that has produced great players in the past,” Janney said. “I love to recruit soccer players, because they just understand the spacing, the passing and the field awareness and you can tell that [Delp] has that.”
Delp said choosing Temple wasn’t a difficult choice.
“I’ve always been a fan of Temple, so it was really neat to get an email from Temple and [Janney],” Delp said. “I love city life and the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s always so much excitement and things to do.”
Another element that Delp said made her decision to come to Temple concrete was the team’s family mentality. She said on her official visit to Temple, the whole team brought her in like she was part of the “TUFH family.”
“Knowing that I have a full team of girls that can help me out at all times is really comforting,” Delp said.
“[Delp] has been outstanding,” Janney said. “She has a great attitude and she’s really here to work hard, and she’s a very unselfish player who can put her head down and take someone head on when we need her to.”
But as Delp joined this young team, with its lone senior, midfielder Katie Briglia, there has been some growing pains.
The Owls dropped five of their first seven games this season, before having a four-game winning streak snapped on Sept. 30 in a 6–0 loss to No. 4 Maryland.
The freshman forward scored her first goal of her collegiate career in style, with a game winning shot against Monmouth with two minutes and 31 seconds left in regulation in the fourth game of the season on Sept. 5.
Delp had back to back two-goal games against Delaware and Drexel on Sept. 14 and Sept. 16, respectively, and notched two more in the Owls’ 5–3 win against Longwood on Sept. 28.
Briglia said that Delp brings a mix of talents to a frontline that lost two seniors from last season in Bridget Settles and Caryn Lambright.
“[Delp] brings a lot of speed and good decision making. She can take the ball down the sideline and knows when to dish it,” Briglia said. “[Delp] has also had a few of our top goals. She has good hand-eye coordination and is able to get the ball in.”
Temple’s frontline, with Delp and sophomore Amber Youtz, has led a recently strong scoring attack.
“The future is bright for us,” Janney said. “Having a young player like [Youtz] being a sophomore and [Delp] being a freshman, we’ve been able to do a lot more with our attacking schemes based on their successes.”
With conference play approaching, the Owls will be looking to take on Virginia Commonwealth University next weekend to begin their last season in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Briglia said that Delp’s early experience will help her in future conference play.
“The teams we’ve been playing are kind of similar to Atlantic 10 teams,” Briglia said. “[Delp] has shown she can score against other teams with her tip goals, and conference games are all about who’s scrappiest and [Delp] has kind of proved she is.”
As her rookie season approaches the halfway mark, Delp said that she hopes to continue to simply do her job for the rest of the year.
“I really just want to do my job as a forward and make sure I’m always at the right spot when other people need me to be there,” Delp said. “And I want to finish every shot that I take so I can do my job as a forward.”
Colin Tansits can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @colin_tansits.