Temple women’s soccer add five members to 2023 class

Coach Seamus O’Connor said the new recruits will fill team’s most crucial areas.

Temple celebrates during its 1-0 win against Tulsa at the Temple Sports Complex on Oct. 18, 2018. The Owls announced on Wednesday that it signed five players to its incoming recruitment class. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University women’s soccer has signed five players to its incoming recruiting class, coach Seamus O’Connor announced on Wednesday.

The Owls’ newest class features forwards Madison Bee and Gianna Dragoni, defenders Milana D’Ambra and Mikaela Maughn and midfielder Mary Byerley.

“The biggest thing is that they answer the majority of our needs in key areas,” O’Connor said. “We needed to score more goals. Our formation is very much reliant on the outside defenders. We were kind of short at midfield this year. They’re still gonna be good defensively, but they’re just gonna make us better attacking-wise.”

In the 2019 season, the Owls will have to replace six seniors — defenders Kelcie Dolan and Kat McCoy, midfielders Sarah McGlinn and Juliet Esposito, forward Kerri McGinley and goalkeeper Jordan Nash. Dolan was one of five players to start all 19 games last season. McGinley was tied for fourth on the team with two goals.

The incoming players can replace the graduating players because O’Connor said they match the aggressive style in the American Athletic Conference.

“They’re definitely better prepared,” O’Connor said. “They had a chance to watch us play in the American conference. They know the expectations. It’s gonna take them a while experience-wise, but in quality-wise, they definitely have the potential to replace the players that just graduated.” 

Bee compiled 71 goals and 19 assists during her four years at Haddonfield Memorial High School in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Bee earned first-team Colonial Conference honors in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons.

She helped Haddonfield reach the 2017 New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association South Jersey, Group 2 finals, which Haddonfield lost. Temple freshman midfielder Hailey Gutowski scored two of Cinnaminson’s goals that game, including the game-winner in overtime.

D’Ambra scored four goals and had 15 assists during her career with Washington Township High School in Sewell, New Jersey.

Bee and D’Ambra both played together for the South Jersey Elite Barons Rush soccer club, and their on-field chemistry can help the Owls next season, O’Connor said.

“Definitely having players who have played together will help us, especially with the positions they play,” O’Connor said. “[Bee] is a goal scorer and [D’Ambra] provides a lot of service for her to score. They’re very used to finding each other, and I think it will help them when they come here just to know each other.”

Dragoni played for Garnet Valley High School in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania during her freshman and sophomore years and has competed for Penn Fusion Soccer Academy since 2017. Dragoni scored four goals in 11 games for Penn Fusion this season.

One of Dragoni’s best assets is her “unbelievable” work ethic, Garnet Valley coach Paul Costa said.

“She’s definitely one of the hardest-working players I’ve ever coached,” Costa added. “She’s a Division I soccer player and has tons and tons of technical abilities. …In my opinion, her biggest thing is that she wants to make her teammates better. I think that’s such a great attribute for a soccer player.”

Maughn played for Mansfield High School in Mansfield, Massachusetts and helped the program win three consecutive Hockomock League titles from 2016-18. Maughn earned Eastern Massachusetts All-Star honors during her senior year.

Byerley played for Bishop Shanahan High School in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Byerley scored eight goals and earned second-team Ches-Mont League honors during her senior year in 2018. Byerley also earned honorable mention honors as a junior in 2017.

Byerley’s sister, Elaine, was a midfielder for the Owls from 2013-16. Elaine Byerley started in 60 games and scored five goals during her four-year career at Temple.

“[O’Connor] actually came to my high school games,” Byerley said. “We’d thought it’d be a good fit with his style of play because he wanted to play a more of a possession style and that’s what I typically like to play. We just thought it would be a good fit with helping out in the midfield.”

The Owls’ five new players will participate in their first team practice in early August. 

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