After the final whistle blew on senior Katie Briglia’s season during the field hockey team’s 5–2 loss to Massachusetts in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships on Nov. 2, she said more good than bad came out of the year.
“We accomplished a lot with this team,” Briglia said. “We reached a lot of the goals that we set out for ourselves at the beginning of the season, and I think we came up short on winning the A-10, but overall we did get a lot accomplished.”
With a 12–9 record, the 2012 season proved to be one of the program’s best years under coach Amanda Janney.
Since 1992, the field hockey team has had three seasons with 12 or more wins and all three years Janney was the coach. The 12-win total from this season was the most since 2007 when the Owls went 15–6.
“Even though we faced a lot of Top 20 teams, we felt like we needed to have a winning record,” Janney said. “It’s something that has eluded us in the past, and it was a huge team goal for us this year.”
But having a winning record would be tough with a schedule that had Temple facing seven teams ranked in the Top 20 nationally.
There to answer any doubts Janney had about having a winning season was sophomore forward Amber Youtz.
As of Oct. 29, Youtz led her team and conference with 21 goals, ranking sixth in NCAA Division I with 1.05 goals per game, and her team and conference best 52 total points ranked seventh in the nation with 2.60 points per game.
“We knew [Youtz] had the talent to be a great scorer and a good leader on our offense,” Janney said. “But we didn’t know if it would be until [Youtz’s] senior year when she would really have that break out year.”
When she scored two goals within a minute of each other in Temple’s season opener against No. 8 Virginia, Youtz began her breakout season.
“[Youtz] was definitely someone we looked to on the field to really get the whole team going,” Briglia said. “I think [Youtz] brings a lot of passion and motivation to the team, and I think a lot people admire [Youtz] for that.”
The Dauphin, Pa., native went on to have a record-breaking season that was highlighted on a weekend late in September when Youtz had back-to-back hat trick performances.
By the time playoffs rolled around, Youtz was ranked amongst the top scorers in the nation.
“It’s kind of intimidating because I feel like a lot of the pressure is on me,” Youtz said. “But at the end of the day, I know my team is going to support me no matter what, and if I am having a bad game it won’t matter because everyone else can step up.”
Youtz’s 22 goals and 54 points this season are the fifth highest single-season totals in Temple history.
“I think it helps [Youtz’s] confidence,” Briglia said. “It’s something she kind of shies away from – wanting that recognition, but it’s an accomplishment either way. I think even if [Youtz] may not think about it now, I think later on she’ll know that it meant something.”
Beyond Youtz’s breakout year, other young players were able to step up as well.
Both Janney and Briglia said sophomore midfielder Nicole Kroener and freshman midfielder Taylor Schronk, were integral parts of the team.
“[Kroener] was a huge asset to the team,” Briglia said. “She’s in the midfield and I played a lot with her in the midfield, and she’s just a really hard worker and would always hustle for the ball.”
Kroener and Schronk started in all 21 games for the Owls, and Kroener was tied for second on the team with 10 assists.
“We recruited [Schronk] and we knew she was a talented player,” Janney said. “But I had no idea that she’d be a starter for us for all 21 games.”
Youtz was named as the A-10 Offensive Player of the Year, and both Youtz and Briglia were given A-10 First Team honors. Freshman forward Alyssa Delp and Schronk were named to the A-10 All-Rookie Team.
“Forty of our goals were from freshmen and sophomores. It’s amazing for us to have such a talented young group of players,” Janney said. “We obviously have great upper classmen leadership – we couldn’t ask for better leadership from our junior class and Briglia, but the future is certainly bright for us.”
Colin Tansits can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @colin_tansits.