Temple University field hockey (7-10, 2-5 Big East Conference) improved in 2019 after only winning two games the previous season.
The Owls were successful at home this season, finishing with a 6-3 record at Howarth Field, but struggled with away games, finishing 1-7 on the road.
“Even though we got those seven wins, it didn’t feel like enough,” coach Susan Ciufo said. “I think we are a really hungry group, and we will begin to put in work for 2020.”
Ciufo previously led Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts to three Division II NCAA Tournament appearances before joining the Owls in January.
The 2019 season was a successful transition and players have high expectations for next season, Ciufo said.
Entering this season, the Owls had not won a Big East Conference game since 2016, when they beat Quinnipiac University.
Under Ciufo, the Owls won two conference games. They beat Georgetown University (6-13, 1-6 The Big East) 2-1 in overtime in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 11. They then beat Villanova (7-10, 1-6 The Big East) 3-0 at Howarth Field on Oct. 25.
The two wins brought a sense of relief to the team after years of losing tough conference games, junior back Dani Batze said.
“It’s been something we have been trying to do for years, and we’ve been so close,” Batze said.
The Owls played many important games this season, but one of the most pivotal came against Old Dominion University (11-7, 6-1 The Big East), sophomore back Nienke Oerlemans said.
The Monarchs are ranked No. 18 in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Poll.
The Owls came away confident after the 2-1 loss on Oct. 18, Oerlemans said.
“I think after Old Dominion it was a good feeling knowing it finally all came together for us,” she added.
The team finished its season with a 3-0 win over Long Island University (7-10, 4-2 Northeast Conference) at Howarth Field on Nov. 3.
The Owls will get ready for next season in January 2020, Ciufo said.
“I am a big believer that we need some student athletes with massive skill,” Ciufo said. “Then we need to find some student athletes who can be gritty Temple Broad Street bullies.”
The players are going to focus on their opportunities to improve each day, Batze said.
“I think the offseason is a big part of it, being focused every day and taking advantage of the opportunities that we do get in the spring,” she added. “Then in the fall just capitalize on that and just keep improving our games.”
The expectations are high and making the Big East Tournament is a realistic goal, Batze said.
“I think the Big East Tournament is our goal. We only got two wins this season in the Big East, and we definitely could of got more,” Batze said. “Three more wins we would of been in there and three more wins is achievable.”