Defense spurs expectations

After dropping a 2-0 decision to Connecticut to open the season, the Owls downed Saint Francis, 4-1, at Drexel.

After dropping a 2-0 decision to Connecticut to open the season, the Owls downed Saint Francis, 4-1, at Drexel.

En Masse, pronounced “awn-moss,” is a French term meaning all together, a whole or as one. Fifth-year coach Amanda Janney may have not quite understood the term being tossed around the bench Sunday at the field hockey team’s evening matchup, but she would soon witness the Owls put the word into effect.

After dropping the season opener to Connecticut, 2-0, Janney’s 2009 team played as one cohesive unit, lending to a 4–1 victory Sunday over Saint Francis.

Senior forward Kasey Ruth and junior forward Taryn Nichols advance into scoring position at Buckley Field.

Temple capitalized on almost every Saint Francis mistake. The Owls dominated the Red Flash in the first half and allowed only four shots. The second half wasn’t much better, as Saint Francis had only two legit rushes and scored a five-hole goal with eight minutes to go. The Owls cashed in on a flurry of turnovers by the Red Flash for 25 shots and 12 penalty corners.

Great stick checking by sophomore Carissa Young and seniors Kasey Ruth and Kate Stewart proved that the defensive effort has taken the next step.

“It can get very physical out there,” Janney said. “We try to train our girls not to cause fouls, but sometimes you have to use your body to defend yourself out there.”

The victory also showed senior leadership in full effect. Between periods, senior goalkeeper Sarah Dalrymple guided younger players toward what needed to change in the second half. Janney said senior leadership like that will factor into winning an Atlantic Ten Championship.

“The whole senior class has to step up,” she said. “We expect a lot of them and have high expectations for the season. They worked so hard over the last few years, and they’ve trained hard to improve tremendously, and we are really looking forward to taking it to our strong schedule.”

Forwards Taryn Nichols and Bridget Settles will play a vital part in the offensive scheme this season. Nichols had a two-point day with a goal and an assist, while Settles stole the show with two goals and an assist. Senior Kristen Wanner put a goal in the back of the cage as well.

“You never really know what to expect out there, but you always hope for the best,” Settles said. “As long as we keep outshooting our opponents, it’ll go in eventually.”

Nichols shared views with her coach as the junior praised her versatile team.

“A lot of different people did a lot of great things,” she said. “Three different people played center back, made great passes and just made the game go for us.”

Temple is slated to finish second in the A-10, but senior captain Charise Young said she wants some hardware to come back to North Philadelphia. Sophomore midfielder Kaylee Keener and senior midfielder Kimmi Hanshue, along with the rest of team, displayed solid passing all game against Saint Francis. Janney said despite the team having minimal turnovers in the game, to get to the NCAA Tournament, the players will have to clean up a few things, including two-touch passing and pressing on defense.

“Right now, we’re focused on non-confernce, and when the A-10s come around, we’ll deal with it then,” Janney said. “We’re still working on some things, and we’re improving every game.”

The Owls play division foes La Salle, West Chester and top-ranked Massachusetts in the twilight of their season.

Christian Audesirk can be reached at

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