Senior Kate Yurkovic follows in sister’s footsteps.
If Owls’ junior midfielder Kate Yurkovic were to say that soccer runs in her blood, one had better believe it.
The second in her family to play for Temple and daughter of two college athletes, Yurkovic has been one of the leaders of the women’s soccer team for the past three seasons. She was named team captain and continues to pose a serious threat to the opposition from her position on the field.
With 17 shots this year, 11 of them on goal, it is only a matter of time before Yurkovic helps the Owls along to some major changes. Second only to senior forward Niki Conn in shots, Yurkovic has tallied one assist this season against University of Maryland Baltimore County, which they won in overtime 2-1.
Last year, the midfielder scored five goals, tying her sister, Allicia Yurkovic, for second on the team, and started 15 of the 16 games she played in. She also notably gained seven points in one match against the winner in that game as well as against Wagner College.
Having an older sister on the team has motivated Kate Yurkovic and also was a large part of why she decided to play at Temple.
“My sister had a lot to do with it because I’ve never played without her before,” Kate Yurkovic said. “She went away to college, so when I got the opportunity to play with her again, I absolutely took it.”
Growing up, they sparked a competitive drive in one another, as they were constantly playing and practicing together. One year ahead of Kate Yurkovic in school, Allicia Yurkovic played forward for the Owls, tying her younger sister in goals and assists in 2010, with five and four respectively. Allicia Yurkovic finished with 11 points and Kate Yurkovic rounded out her freshman year with eight points in 2009. However, due to nursing school, AlliciaYurkovic is no longer on the team.
Kate Yurkovic said she always wanted to play soccer, and making it to college at the Division I level has been one of her biggest accomplishments as a player.
At Central Dauphin High School, she led her team to two state championships in a row, totaling 73 goals and 38 assists in her career. She also earned Mid-Penn Player of the Year and Pennsylvania All-State as a senior and was a three-time first team Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division all-star. Kate Yurkovic said the transition from high school to college was somewhat of a wakeup call.
“Everyone [on the team was] the star of [their] high school team,” Kate Yurkovic said. “Here it’s a reality check. You realize you have to work for your spot. Freshman year was the year that would make or break me, but I’m glad I stuck it out.”
Although it has been somewhat of a struggle for the team this season to get on the right track with a current record of 3-6-0, Kate Yurkovic continues to play proudly for the Owls and their new coach, Matt Gwilliam.
“[Gwilliam] asks us, ‘Who do you play for?’ That really sticks with me every game,” Kate Yurkovic said. “I have to take a minute and think, ‘Why do I play and who do I play for?’ Because when you’re playing for your team, it makes a big difference.”
On the switch in coaching staff this season, Kate Yurkovic also thinks it will help the team in the long run.
“He asks our opinions and is really approachable,” Kate Yurkovic said. “I really enjoy playing for him.”
The team had a positive start this season, winning its first two matches, but lost five of the next six games. However, with a win against Francis Marion, the Owls are looking ahead and Kate Yurkovic is keeping a positive outlook.
“It’s hard, but at the end of the day the only thing that matters is [Atlantic Ten Conference play], so we’re just figuring stuff out now,” Kate Yurkovic said. “Right now we’re rebuilding.”
The first conference game will be played Friday, Sept. 30 against La Salle. Kate Yurkovic hopes to lead her team to victory as her goal for the season is to make it to A-10 tournament play.
An elementary education major, Kate Yurkovic wants to become a teacher after college. But right now her focus is on her team.
“I would really like my team as a whole to make it to the A-10 tournament,” Kate Yurkovic said. “So every day we’re going to go out and fight.”
Elizabeth Sim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.