During her six-point performance last year against Marquette University, Nicole Barretta only had one assist.
The senior attacker opened the season with a new career-high of eight points on four goals and four assists against Rutgers University on Feb. 10. For that performance, Barretta was named the Big East Conference Attacker of the Week on Feb. 13.
Barretta set a career-high with seven goals the next day in an 18-7 win against Monmouth University.
In four games this season, Barretta already has 13 goals and six assists for 19 points, which is tied for 11th in Division I. Her 13 goals leads Temple (3-2) and is tied for 16th in Division I. Barretta is sixth in the Big East Conference in points per game with 4.75.
She has already matched her assist total from last season, and she is one point away from tying her 20-point freshman season. Though Barretta’s offensive prowess is impressive, coach Bonnie Rosen said it isn’t her only asset.
“I think she’s got a great sense on how to get the ball to the cage both for herself and for her teammates,” Rosen said. “But she also helps us generate a lot of our off-ball offense and creativity, as well as our offensive transition and our defensive transition.”
Barretta’s early offensive output is similar to past Owls’. Former midfielder Whitney Richards had a fast offensive start in 2008, and former attacker Jaymie Tabor had a quick start in 2014. Richards scored 15 goals through the first five games of the season and finished with 46 goals. Tabor scored 14 times in the first five games on the way to a 33-goal campaign.
Barretta was one of six Owls who scored 20 or more goals last season. She finished tied for fifth on the team with 21. As a four-year varsity starter for coach Christa Somits at Downingtown East High School in Chester County, Barretta stood out from the beginning, Somits said.
Barretta has always been an aggressive and highly athletic player, she added.
“She really, really dominated on the attack side in high school,” Somits said.
By the end of her career at Downingtown East, Barretta set a scoring record with more than 300 goals, including 93 in her senior season.
Barretta played in the midfield as a Cougar, but she has played on the attack as an Owl. Somits believes the move made sense due to Barretta’s “fearless” attitude near the goal.
Barretta didn’t start any games as a junior or a sophomore, but she is now a key starter for Temple this season.
Barretta started the first four games, but she didn’t play in Sunday’s 18-15 win against Lafayette College for an undisclosed reason.
To prepare for games, Barretta watches film of the Owls’ offense and the opposing team’s defense, she said. She also talks to her defensive teammates to find out how to effectively approach a defense. Plus, she talks to the coaching staff a lot, including during games.
“Some of it is to go over plays, to go over what I’m seeing, how I’m feeling,” Barretta said. “Most of the time it’s to calm me down. I get a little fired up about some calls and stuff like that.”
“I thought that the drive and passion that she had really brought her to be the best player that she could be,” Somits said.