For senior Molly Doyle, last Friday’s game came with a strange feeling.
Along with midfielder/defender Mandi Shearer and forward Lauren Hunt, the 5-1 win over Georgetown marked the three seniors’ final Temple game at Geasey Field.
“I remember being a freshman and thinking how much older the seniors were and how long of a road it would take to get there,” Doyle said. “It seems like that was literally yesterday. It’s gone by so fast. It’s just hard to believe that we’re seniors and that this is our last home game.”
Doyle isn’t the only one who feels like the time has flown by quickly.
“I feel like we just got here a year or two ago,” Shearer said. “I mean we’ve seen all the hustle and bustle about Senior Day in the past, but it’s weird that we are the people that are celebrating now.”
Although the season isn’t over yet, the seniors got to celebrate during one of the best years in the program’s history. The Owls are 14-4 overall and 4-2 in conference play in their first year as members of the Big East Conference. Temple is currently fourth in the conference and ranked No. 17 in the nation, holding a national ranking for seven straight weeks after making it to No. 11 on Sept. 10.
Before the season started, all three seniors said they believed the team would do well this year. However, they didn’t expect all the success and attention that was to come.
“I knew that we had a really good team coming in,” Doyle said. “I think it was really beneficial to us losing only one senior last year. We have a really talented and strong group, a core group of girls returning, and I knew that we would be contenders for the Big East Championship and things like that.”
“But I didn’t know that we would get all of the national attention that we’ve had and experience the success that we’ve had beating such good teams like Penn State and Ohio State,” Doyle added. “In some aspects, I was anticipating a lot of the good stuff that has happened to us but not nearly everything that has happened to us.”
Although The Big East has not announced its playoff schedule, Temple will likely make it in per athletic communications.
“The Big East has been a really strong conference this year, so if we make it, just making it would be something to be proud of,” Hunt said. “We really want to win and get back some of those losses from conference play.”
“I think all of the recognition we’ve got this year and being nationally ranked, going to the Big East tournament will be our chance to play like it and prove that we deserve the recognition that we’ve gotten this year,” Shearer said.
At this time last year, Katie Briglia, the only senior on the roster, was celebrating her last home game at Geasey. But she played with a certain mentality last season that Doyle said made its impact on the rest of the team.
“Every game she played like it was her last, and I think it trickled down to the rest of the team,” Doyle said. “I think that’s why we did really well last year, too. Katie was such a great leader and such a great captain that we wanted to play for her.”
“I hope that we inspired the girls under us in that way as well,” Doyle added. “We’re playing really hard, these are our last few games, so hopefully they can see that and emulate that style of play and realize how big these next few weeks are coming up.”
They also kept a message in mind from before.
“In years past we’re always told when it comes to the end of the season, play for your seniors,” Shearer said. “It’s their last few games, play like it’s your last and you try to emulate that as much as possible, but I don’t think you realize what it’s really like until you’re at this moment.”
Now that the Owls are at this moment, they can take a bit of time to reflect before focusing on the rest of the road ahead.
“It might sound corny, but my favorite memories are just being with the team,” Hunt said. “They become your family over the years.”
Hunt mentioned this past spring when the team played flag football, one of the games coach Amanda Janney adds into some practices as a way to help the team bond and relax.
“When you look back, those are the things that – and the wins, obviously – but those little things are why field hockey has meant so much to me,” Hunt said.
Nick Tricome can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @itssnick215.