Early loss in last year’s A-10 tournament motivates Owls for 2011.
The Owls’ field hockey program has had a number of talented players in recent seasons but are lacking the hardware to validate it.
“The expectation is to always win [the Atlantic Ten Conferences],” head coach Amanda Janney said. “We’ve forgotten about last year and we’re focused on doing our best this year.”
In 2010, the field hockey team posted a 9-12 record overall, and their 4-3 conference record was good enough to propel them into the A-10 tournament. The team established themselves throughout the season as an offensively balanced group oriented around sharing the ball and attempting to capitalize on scoring opportunities. On the defensive side of the ball they were anchored by senior goalkeeper Sarah Dalrymple, who started every game and recorded a .731 save percentage.
The Owls were the A-10 tournament host team and drew a first round match up with Massachusetts, who entered last season with 11 A-10 Championships- the most out of any team in the league. The Owls normally potent offense, led by senior forward Bridget Settles and junior forward Katie Briglia, was anything but that against the Minutewomen. The Owls could only muster three shots on goal and lost 1-0, three minutes into overtime to the eventual A-10 champions. The overtime loss is something that has stuck with the Owls.
“We want to win every overtime,” Janney said. “We didn’t like ending our season on an overtime.”
The loss at home left a bitter taste in the Owls mouths and this season they return to the field looking to rid themselves of that feeling. Janney now has the task of trying to lead the Owls to their seventh consecutive postseason appearance under her tutelage. Joining Janney on the sidelines as an assistant coach will be a familiar face for Temple field hockey fans. Charise Young, who graduated from Temple in 2010, will participate in her first season as an assistant coach for the Owls. Young was a key piece to Janney’s success during her playing career at Temple and the team hopes that her talents will transfer successfully to the sidelines. The coaching staff is rounded out by graduate assistant coach Kelly Driscoll.
When analyzing the Owls’ top returning players, the player that first comes to mind is Settles. Settles emerged as a sophomore and began to open some eyes with her offensive prowess, leading the team with 12 goals. As a junior, Settles continued to improve. The New Jersey native earned a spot on the All-Conference first team and started every game for the Owls while posting a team-leading 13 goals. Entering her senior season, the expectations continue to grow for Settles and her success may directly correlate to how far the Owls go this season.
“We’re really happy to have such a talented forward to lead our team,” Janney said. “She is a phenomenal player, one of the best in the nation, and we hope that it shows this year.”
Another key piece to the team’s success will be Briglia, as the Owls’ offense will be based around Settles and her up front. Briglia, who also made the All-Conference first team, was second on the team in goals last season and posted a hat trick against Saint Louis. Briglia has emerged as a playmaker for the Owls and her coach sees her as the X-factor.
“She may look petite, but she’s a monster on the field,” Janney said.
Players to Watch
The biggest position to watch for the Owls will be at goaltender. With Dalrymple gone, the Owls will turn to either sophomore Lizzy Millen or freshman Haley Mitchell.
“It’s a good goalie battle,” Janney said. “We’re not sure who is going to start.”
With the season set to begin, the goal is clear for both Janney and her players.
“Our expectation is to always win A-10’s,” Janney said.
Janney will be tasked with leading this group in their journey to attain that goal.
Ray Boyd can be reached at email@example.com.