Temple University field hockey is the only Temple sport to have their season canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Owls announced they are postponing the fall season until Spring 2021 after The Big East Conference canceled all fall sports for the 2020 season on Aug. 12.
Despite the cancellation, the Owls are motivated to get back to playing, said head coach Susan Ciufo.
“We’re sad, they’re heartbroken, they’ve been working really hard, but it just means they have more time to work even harder,” Ciufo added.
Main Campus practices began on Aug. 17, with rules and protocols in place to maintain COVID-19 guidelines, said senior defender Dani Batze.
This fall would have been Ciufo’s second season as head coach for the Owls. Last season, Temple finished 7-10 overall and 2-5 in the conference.
The team knew the season’s fate was uncertain this fall and were not surprised to hear the season was pushed to the spring of 2021, Ciufo said .
“We definitely have been preparing ourselves for the worst case scenario,” senior goalkeeper Cristina Carotenuto said. “Once we found out the news it wasn’t a shock to anyone by any means, but it was more of how are we going to prepare for the spring season.”
Carotenuto has been the starting goalkeeper for the Temple field hockey team the past three years. Last season she started in 16 games, allowed 26 total goals and recorded four shutouts.
Without a fall season, the team is focusing on continuing to work on their games and holding themselves accountable, Carotenuto said.
“That’s something we always stressed in our program,” Carotenuto added. “We had a summer workout plan that we follow pretty regularly and, being a captain, we’ve done a good job of keeping ourselves and the team accountable.”
During the summer, the Owls found new and efficient ways to stay productive while not on campus.
The team held Zoom meetings to break down film and talk about “culture” and the “pillars they stand for,” Batze said, who is heading into her second year as captain.
“All summer long, we tried to keep our mind on hockey and us as a family,” Batze added.
Before canceling the season, The Big East announced they would only play conference games in the fall, according to a press July 16 release.
“As things kept developing, it developed to a point where we were only going to be able to play Connecticut and Providence [College] the entire fall,” Ciufo said. “That was not much of a student-athlete experience, so I think this is definitely the best for our ladies.”
The Owls are viewing the postponement as a “blessing” and will take the extra time to train for the spring, Ciufo added.
The Owls’ goal for the spring season is to make The Big East Conference Tournament, Batze added.
Temple has yet to win a Big East conference championship and hasn’t competed in The Big East tournament since 2016.
“The first two days we’re working on technical, so we won’t be scrimmaging,” Batze said. “We’ll be wearing a mask and social distancing. I think after the first week we’ll have a better understanding on how training will go this semester.”