For the past few years, field hockey has preached that the Owls are the “TUFH family.” This season, that sense of family has gotten a little stronger.
This summer, freshman midfielder Amanda Fuertsch went through a dynamic transition from high school to college. But that transition to collegiate athletics has been made easier because of her sister.
Emily Fuertsch, Amanda Fuertsch’s older sister, has been a defender on Temple’s field hockey team for two years.
“I was really pulling for [Amanda Fuertsch] to choose Temple when she was making her college choice, and I’m glad it worked out this way,” Emily Fuertsch said.
Before joining the Owls, Amanda Fuertsch was a well-decorated field hockey player at Owen J. Roberts High School in Pottstown, Pa.
As a four-year letter winner, Amanda Fuertsch was a captain as a senior and led her team to a 23-3 record. She was named to the All-Area Team and to the All-Southeastern Pennsylvania Team.
For coach Amanda Janney, Amanda Fuertsch’s on-the-field accolades added to her interest in recruiting.
“I believe in recruiting the player and the family,” Janney said. “I know [Emily Fuertsch’s] mentality and dedication to the program was very impressive to me, so I figured if [Amanda Fuertsch] had even half of her older sister’s dedication, that she would be a great player for us.”
For Amanda Fuertsch, her interest in Temple was more than just for field hockey.
“My sister played a big part in me coming here, so I was already familiar with the campus,” Amanda Fuertsch said. “Coming from a rural area to being in the city with so many things to do, the new atmosphere is something that really interested me as well.”
Janney said that bringing Amanda Fuertsch onto the team out of a strong high school such as Owen J. Roberts was a big win in recruiting.
But while attending one of Amanda Fuertsch’s club games, Janney found another gem.
Owls’ freshman forward Taylor Shronk is also from Owen J. Roberts High School, and was a teammate alongside Amanda Fuertsch.
“[Shronk’s] dad was yelling in the stands, and I was thinking ‘Who’s this kid, and who’s the dad, and can this kid handle the dad?’” Janney said. “[Shronk] was totally responding and played a great game, and you could see that she was just a really intense, tough athlete.”
After coming in this summer with no clear spot in the lineup, Shronk used her toughness and hustle to play her way into a starting role, Janney said.
“[Shronk] has the athleticism, hustle and all of the intangibles,” Janney said.
This season, Shronk has started all three games for the Owls, and Janney said that she expects her to continue to play at a high level all season.
Shronk said the team has supported her through her transition to the college level.
“It’s been exciting,” Shronk said. “This team is like a second family, so any questions I’ve ever had, they were there to answer them and help me work on my game.”
With both Amanda Fuertsch and Shronk going to Temple together, their chemistry on the field hasn’t changed.
“[Shronk] and I have played together ever since seventh grade,” Amanda Fuertsch said. “So we know how each other works on and off the field, even though we haven’t gotten to play on the same side of the field or together very much, I think our chemistry is definitely still there.”
However, Emily Fuertsch’s season hasn’t exactly started off on the right foot.
Although she has played in two games, she has only logged 10 minutes of time, mostly due to injury.
Janney said that Emily Fuertsch has been battling shin splints throughout the past two years.
“We’re hoping to get [Emily Fuertsch] back for mid-September,” Janney said. “But when she does get in, she’s kind of like a point guard, she’s a good passer and her on-the-field intelligence is very good.”
But Janney said that off the field is where Emily Fuertsch really shines.
“[Emily Fuertsch] is one of the most responsible people I know. If something needs to get done, she is on top of it,” Janney said. “Any assignments I give the team, she’s the first one to get them in, and she’s just always putting the team first.”
Janney said much of the success from young players such as Amanda Fuertsch or Shronk rides on the family aspect of the team and their ability to work together.
Shronk said that she knows the importance of the young team needing each other.
“This season I really hope to get everyone working together, like they have in years past,” Shronk said. “To really get this young team together and playing well will help us win the A-10’s.”
Colin Tansits can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @colin_tansits.