Senior forward Katie Foran and senior backer Ali Meszaros connected immediately when they arrived at Temple in 2013.
“When we came to Temple, we both said, ‘Hey I remember you from the [field hockey] clinic,’” Foran said. “It was actually really weird.”
Four years later, Foran and Meszaros, who have combined to play 110 games in their careers, share captaincy with senior midfielder Paige Gross. They came to Temple as part of a recruiting class of eight players signed by former coach Amanda Janney.
With the team having lost 10 seniors from last year’s team including its starting goalkeeper and top three scorers, both Foran and Meszaros understand that they must play an important role. Just like four seasons ago when the senior class first arrived, there are eight freshmen on this year’s roster.
“We thought back to when we were freshmen, and we thought about the seniors back then and how we looked up to them and we watched everything that they did,” Meszaros said. “So that put it into perspective for us.”
Given the team’s youth and relative inexperience, both co-captains understand that growth as a team will be one of the most important aspects of this season.
“We’re a very young team, but we saw a lot of great things that came through in preseason,” Meszaros said. “We’ve seen a progression throughout the season.”
The team started the year on a three-game losing streak before getting its first win, then proceeded to lose its next five contests. The Owls have now won four of their last five games. Foran has scored two of the team’s 11 goals in that span.
Foran often takes on the role of leading by example, while Meszaros uses a more firm and vocal style in the locker room and on the field.
“I think we definitely balance each other out,” Foran said. “I’m more laid-back and quieter, and Ali is more outspoken. I calm Ali down and Ali sticks up for me.”
“[Katie’s] always there to talk to everyone on the team, and everyone respects her and go to her if they have problems,” Meszaros added.
Off the field, both players share their appreciation for education and children, which has resulted in them choosing early childhood education as their majors.
“My mom’s a teacher and I’ve always gone into her classroom, and I think it’s really cool to get to make an impact on [kids],” Foran said.
“I have a lot of siblings in my family, and I also like giving back to the community,” Meszaros said.
Meszaros and Foran share many of the same challenges as student athletes trying to balance their athletic and academic lives. Their shared early childhood education major provides for an extremely rigorous schedule every day.
“It’s very demanding because we have to go in for field work,” Meszaros said. “We’ll go into the classroom in the morning, then go to practice, then do our homework.”
“The teachers at Temple are very helpful and understand our busy schedules,” Foran said.
As they continue their last year at Temple, both players can’t help but look towards the future.
“I’m going to move back home and look for a job near Harrisburg,” said Foran, who is from Dauphin, Pennsylvania, about a 15-minute drive from the state capital. “I have a lot of family there, and I’m very close to them.”
“I’m kind of sad, because Katie and I have been taking classes together and we always wanted to teach together, but I’m going to move away and teach somewhere farther away,” Meszaros said.
Varun Sivakumar can be reached at email@example.com.