The Owls have been enjoying one of their best seasons in years. They’re 10-4, tied for third in the Big East Conference and as of Monday stand as the No. 17 team in the nation.
Their success isn’t going unnoticed around campus either. Thirteen games into the season, with nine home games already played and two remaining on the schedule, the field hockey program has already surpassed its total attendance from last season with 3,676 people, up from a total attendance of 3,470 in 2012.
“The fans have been great this year,” midfielder/defender and co-captain Molly Doyle said. “Every time we get a break, we can hear them cheering really loud and on our corners and everything. It’s good to play at home, it’s nice to know that we have a good fan base. You can always count on that.”
Attendance has been an issue for the school’s other programs, particularly the ones that play at the Ambler Sports Complex. But the field hockey team, which plays on campus, has been thriving in that department. Geasey Field is averaging 410 people per game, a relatively high number considering the only available seating is two small sets of bleachers. The average attendance is also up more than 100 people from the average for 2012.
The Owls are leading the Big East in attendance in their first year as an affiliate, with Louisville behind them in second with an average of 348 per game. Louisville’s stadium, however, holds 2,500 people.
The Owls attracted 613 people in their opening game against Ohio State on Aug. 31 and then 553 in their second game against Maryland on Sept. 1. There were 572 people at Geasey Field for the Sept. 8 game against Richmond, but Temple hasn’t had more than 500 people at one of its home games since.
Still, the team has had no problem surpassing the 300 mark, attracting less than that for only three games. One of those games was this past weekend’s win over Providence, which, even in the pouring rain, managed to gather 234 people.
“I think our fans really see that we have something special here at Temple with our field hockey team,” assistant coach Kelly Driscoll said. “I think they have recognized and noticed how hard our girls have worked and how much this program has come.”
“Even the [fans] just joining in now,” Driscoll added. “It’s great because we do have something special going on right now and for years to come. We are really having a great breakout year which is only going to make us better.”
The Owls’ success this season has even gotten them attention from the higher-ups at Temple, with President Neil Theobald attending his first field hockey game on Sept. 27 when the Owls topped conference rival Rutgers 2-1.
“I had a great time, it’s very exciting,” Theobald said after the Temple victory. “It’s a really fast game, and about late in the first half I started to begin to understand the rules, and boy, the speed with which they play … they are incredibly quick.”
“They’re really good students,” Theobald added. “I talked to them before the game, really great kids.”
The attention to the team has also gone beyond campus. Coach Amanda Janney and senior defender and co-captain Molly Doyle recently appeared on KYW 1060, and the team appeared on the front page of the Oct. 12 edition of the Philadelphia Daily News with Theobald.
“It’s phenomenal,” sophomore midfielder Sarah Deck said of all the support toward the team. “We are hearing random ‘good lucks’ and ‘go get ‘ems’ from workers at Cosi, which is great.”
“Other coaches are coming in, congratulating our coach, we had the president come one game,” Deck added. “It makes it all the more better to play for Temple and want to do well now that people are supporting us.”
Nick Tricome can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @itssnick215.