Senior back Dani Batze remembers being instantly impressed by freshman midfielder Kaitlyn Cummins’ ball handling technique during fall practice.
“I said this right away and I told my mom this and I told the coaches this, I even told [Cummins],” Batze said. “Right away, when I watched her play I was like, This girl is going to be an All-American one day.’”
Cummins, who’s started every game for the Owls this spring, ranks third on the team in minutes played, fifth in overall shots and is tied for second in shots on goal this season. Her experience playing against tough competition at Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, is making Cummins an important piece to Temple University’s field hockey team at the midfield position.
In high school, the four year letter-winner put up impressive numbers, tallying 31 career goals and 36 assists in four years with the program.
“I do think it truly did get me ready for this level not only as an athlete but also as a person,” Cummins said. “There were moments where we did lose and there were moments where we won, so it helped me develop a way to take a loss, and when we do win, how to stay humble.”
Cummins made first team-all state as a senior in high school, and in 2019, she had the most assists of any player in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, while helping the Fighting Irish rank No. 5 in New Jersey and No. 25 in the nation.
The Owls employ a 3-4-3 scheme and Cummins plays at the top of the “diamond,” a crucial role responsible for pressuring the other team when they are trying to outlet the ball.
“[Cummins] has to really focus on getting on that screen position and the thing I have been really impressed with is she’s really good at putting on pressure when the ball goes into that screen and coming up with those plays,” Batze said.
Cummins teammates describe her as a highly competitive person willing to play even when injured, Batze said.
When Temple played Villanova on March 7, Cummins twisted her ankle and the trainer told her to run a couple times along the sidelines. Cummins was a little hesitant, because there was no way to Cummins she wasn’t going back in the game, Batze said.
Cummins ended up starting the fourth quarter of that game.
Cummins’ confidence is obvious to Ciufo, who believes it helps her control the middle of the field, Ciufo said.
“She’s not afraid to speak up in a huddle after the game and there are some comments that she’s made that are pretty gritty and aggressive, you don’t expect it coming from this sweet girl”, Ciufo added. “But there is this massive competitor inside of her and that’s what makes her exciting as a player.”
Cummins had other offers from Division I schools, but picked Temple because the coaches valued interpersonal connections with the players that go beyond what happens on the field, Cummins said.
“They really like, took me in as, but like not only a player and didn’t think of me just as the field hockey player but also a person, which I thought was very cool because some other teams that I was looking at didn’t really do that,” Cummins said.