There is a scene in the movie Forrest Gump where President John F. Kennedy asks Forrest, “How does it feel to be an All-American?”
Now Alli Lokey, a senior midfielder on the field hockey team, can answer that question, too.
The National Field Hockey Coaches Association selected Lokey as a Second Team All-American, making her the only field hockey player chosen from the Atlantic Ten Conference this year and Temple’s first athlete to receive the award since Erin Conroy in 2003.
Although Lokey’s response to the selection was not as outrageous as Forrest’s, she still realized the significance of the achievement.
“It’s pretty exciting [to be named an All-American] because it’s something you think about coming into college,” Lokey said. “It was a goal of mine, but I never thought it was actually going to happen.”
Earning All-American status was only one of the many goals Lokey accomplished during her four-year career at Temple. The co-captain increased her offensive production every season beginning in 2004, scoring one, eight, 10, and then 18 goals in her last season as an Owl. Those 18 goals not only led both Temple and the A-10, but also ranked second in the nation. Those numbers, along with the fact that Lokey held the lead in eight other A-10 offensive categories, earned her A-10 Player of the Week honors four times and A-10 Offensive Player of the Year. She was the first Temple athlete selected for that award since 1990.
Coach Amanda Janney watched Lokey’s skills develop since she was hired in 2005, immediately following Lokey’s freshman season.
“I knew she was an awesome player when I first saw her play, but I didn’t quite realize what a goal scorer she was,” Janney said. “I think that’s one thing that really sets her apart from other players across the nation, that she really has the knack for finding the back of the cage. She has an outstanding determination for scoring, wanting to win and needing to score the next goal.”
While most opposing teams and coaches – even Temple’s staff – focus on that innate offensive ability, the underrated aspects of Lokey’s game, especially her defense, sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
“I think her defense is underrated and something we [as coaches] don’t compliment her on as much,” Janney said. “She is able to make tackles on the field that allow us to stay up field for a long period of time and in our attacking zone. But her overall game is good. It’s not just that she is able to shoot the ball real hard but that she really understands the game well. It’s both her defensive abilities and her attacking qualities that make her such a great player.”
Those attacking qualities were on display in the best game of Lokey’s career, a 6-1 victory over Rhode Island Oct. 14 in which she tallied four goals, the most by a Temple player since Toni Byard in 1992. Three of those goals came in a six-minute span.
For Janney, what stuck out in her mind from that game was Lokey’s aggressiveness.
“I think for her to have that standout game and be able to score that many times so quickly shows her competitiveness, and that she’s not just happy scoring one goal, she’s going to keep taking on the defense and keep trying to shoot,” Janney said. “When she’s playing well like that it really helps the rest of our team play well also.”
Unfortunately for Lokey, that offensive outburst occurred nine days too late. On Oct. 5, the Owls lost, 2-1, to A-10 rival Richmond to continue their 13-game losing streak against the Spiders, including the six games Lokey played against them in her career. Richmond held Lokey to one goal and zero assists in those six games, by far her lowest output against any A-10 opponent.
“For the past four years it has been our goal to beat Richmond and this year we were picked to do it and I honestly don’t know why [we didn’t],” Lokey said. “We didn’t play our best game and we usually show up and play best in big games like that.”
Coupled with that loss was the Owls’ failure to live up to their No. 13 national ranking as the top seed in the A-10 tournament after winning their first regular season A-10 title. The Owls lost, 3-2, to Saint Joseph’s, falling in the A-10 semifinals for the fourth straight season.
Nevertheless, their 15 wins were the most since 1991. That’s the type of success that Janney, the coaching staff, and the returning players hope to continue next year without Lokey.
“We’ll lose a lot of the competitive spirit we had everyday and I think that’s something I’ve already been thinking about for next year,” Janney said.
As for Lokey, the All-American said she’d like to be remembered for her “hard work and dedication to the team” instead of individual accolades during her time at Temple, a testament to the senior’s team-oriented spirit.
Jennifer Reardon can be reached at email@example.com.