In Lexy Endres’ first game for Temple University women’s soccer, she had butterflies in her stomach.
“My heart was racing a lot,” said Endres, a freshman midfielder. “It took a bit, but once I settled in, I was fine. I’m just a freshman going up against girls on teams like Memphis and UCF that are three-year starters and All-Americans.”
Endres is a key contributor to Temple’s (4-4-1, 2-4-1 The American Athletic Conference) offense as an attacking midfielder tasked with an advanced playmaker role. Her job is to sit between the midfield and forward groups in the middle of the field or on either wing to help create scoring opportunities.
Usually the attacking midfielder role, or the “number 10” role, is reserved for an older and more mature player, but head coach Nick Bochette is confident Endres is the right player for the spot, he said.
“She can really open a defense up with her passing ability,” Bochette added. “She’s a little deceptive with her passes. If we set up shop in the attacking third and get her the ball, she’ll find those little slip balls through to either [junior forward Gabriela Johnson] or [junior midfielder Hailey Gutowski] or whoever else it might be.”
On the field, Endres is surrounded by upperclassmen like Gutowski, and senior midfielders Emma Wilkins, Arryana Daniels and Julia Dolan.
The upperclassmen hold her to the same standards they hold each other to, Dolan said.
“She’s just really shown how technically sound she is, how fit she is,” Dolan added. “She just is a really good player all around. She’s really gonna make an impact.”
Temple’s coaching staff and teammates’ trust in Endres is evident, with Endres taking many of Temple’s set pieces and swinging crosses into the box.
In Temple’s 1-1 draw with East Carolina on Feb. 28, Endres took the corner kick in the 62nd minute that led to freshman defender Róisín McGovern’s goal.
Endres also scored the tying goal on a penalty kick in Temple’s 2-1 win against Cincinnati on March 15. After Johnson drew the penalty kick in the 47th minute, Endres took the kick instead of several upperclassmen who could’ve taken it.
“[Endres] has a skillset that makes her very versatile,” Bochette said. “That’s why you’ve seen her on the left, in the middle, taking set pieces, and she honestly could play forward as well. As a young player, she’s starting to figure out how to play with more dynamic players.”
Even with her teammates and coaches’ trust, she admits there’s more she can learn, Endres said.
“I definitely still need to be playing quicker, the pace of the game is a lot quicker,” Endres added. “You can’t dribble really, you just have to make your decisions right off the bat.”
Endres and the rest of the freshman class offer Temple a bright future to compete in The American Athletic Conference. Since 2010, Temple has made The American conference tournament three times, but they lost in the first round each time.
“We all got here and we knew that the culture wasn’t where it should be,” Endres said. “Our class always talks about when we’re seniors, we want to be winning the conference. We don’t want to sell short of our goals.”