In 2011, Bridget Settles was the face of Temple field hockey. With 20 goals, Settles was one of the nation’s top scorers. But it’s no longer 2011, and the field hockey team must move on and find a way to replace the graduated All-American.
This season, coach Amanda Janney has been given the task of replacing her team’s leader both on and off the field.
“The leadership [Settles] provided is among the best I’ve seen at Temple,” Janney said. “We have had a tradition of great leaders and she continued it, setting the bar high.”
Forward Katie Briglia is the lone senior on the team, and as co-captain will have to step into a leadership role. Last season, Briglia had a team high five assists while scoring nine points for the Owls.
But for Briglia, Settles’ presence off the field will be missed the most.
“[Settles] took a lot of pride in what she did, even more so off the field,” Briglia said. “That’s what I learned most from [Settles], to take pride in something you believe in.”
Along with Briglia, Janney said that other players will be stepping up to fill the void left by Settles.
Junior forward Lauren Hunt will be counted upon heavily, along with sophomore forward Amber Youtz. Youtz will be taking the forward position played by Settles, and is looking to build off of a strong freshman season.
“I’ve done a lot more fitness and work this summer,” Youtz said. “I’m definitely more prepared for this season, and our practices are even more intense than last year.”
Statistically, Youtz is one of the top offensive threats for the Owls. She scored four goals, and had the second most shots on goal on the team, behind Settles, last season.
As an incoming freshman from Dauphin, Pa., last year, Youtz worked her way into a starting role, eventually playing alongside Settles as a forward.
Youtz said she hopes to teach the new incoming freshmen what Settles taught her.
“As an incoming freshman with those seniors, they taught us everything that they could,” Youtz said. “And that’s what we hope to do with our incoming freshmen class so that they could have the same kind of impact on the team that we did last year.”
Janney said that she is very excited about the offense-heavy freshman class that features five forwards.
“I’m pretty excited about the speed of our freshmen forwards, it’s one of the strongest freshmen classes we’ve ever had,” Janney said. “We’re really excited about the scorers we have on our team this year.”
But for Briglia, replacing Settles leadership will be one of the toughest tasks.
“One of the biggest things I took from [Settles] is to take pride in your team off the field,” Briglia said. “She showed me how to take pride and lead by example.”
Janney said that Settles’ style of playing hard and with pride hasn’t disappeared this year.
“[Settles] winning mentality and hard work ethic has carried over to this team,” Janney said. “You can see it in [Briglia], where [Settles] would bring practice to another level, now everyone is.”
For the 2012 season, replacing Settles isn’t on the minds of players such as Youtz or Briglia. They’re more focused on taking what they’ve learned and moving forward.
“It’s going to be tough with younger players, having to kind of find their own way,” Briglia said. “But I think with some time and practicing together, it should work itself out.”
Colin Tansits can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @colin_tansits.