New Temple field hockey coach creates leadership team for upcoming season

Coach Susan Ciufo brought this leadership style from her time at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.

Then-junior midfielder Kathryn Edgar throws her hands up in celebration after scoring the first goal in the Owl's 2-3 loss against Providence College on Sept. 21, 2018. Edgar will be a performance captain for the 2019 season. | JAMIE COTTRELL / FILE PHOTO

First-year Temple field hockey coach Susan Ciufo has chosen five players to be on the squad’s leadership team for the 2019 season.

The team is comprised of two performance captains, a unity Leader, commitment leader and an organizational leader, Ciufo said. She used a similar type of leadership group during her last season in 2018 at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.

“I think that the more leaders that you have on your team, the better position you’re putting your team in,” Ciufo said in an interview with The Temple News. “I don’t really believe in just two people or just one person [being a leader]; I think that the more there are, the better.”

Two performance captains will represent the Owls on game days: senior midfielder Kathryn Edgar and junior defender Dani Batze. Edgar was a captain as a junior in 2018 and led the team with four goals and five assists. Batze recorded seven defensive saves last season, ranking third in NCAA Division I.

The three additional roles are filled by seniors. Forward Cristen Barnett, who missed five games in the middle of the 2018 season due to injury, is the Owls’ unity leader because of her empathy and relationships with her teammates, Ciufo said.

“Cristen for us is really the person [who] connects everybody,” Ciufo added. “She definitely keeps our team connected and that’s going to be hard throughout the season.”

Defender Becky Gerhart is the commitment leader. Gerhart started every game in the 2018 season and recorded five defensive saves.

Ciufo said that Gerhart, “has grown tremendously in the past four months,” adding that she holds her teammates accountable.

“You know that her commitment level is extremely high,” Ciufo said. “She’s making sure people are doing the work in the summer, in the fall [and] in the classroom.”

Forward Lucy Reed will serve as the organizational leader. Ciufo said that Reed has taken responsibility for “the back end of things,” like assisting in coordinating her teammates’ travel and gear.

“Lucy, from the day we got here, we could tell she gets everybody’s eggs in a basket,” Ciufo said. “She makes sure her teammates are doing the things they need to do…she’s going to take ownership of that organizational piece.”

The team completed its first spring season under Ciufo on May 8, earning an 8-4 record in 12 games. The Owls will kick off the regular season on August 30 at Howarth Field against Merrimack College at 5 p.m.

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