With six goals in 48 hours, Amber Youtz was able to carry the field hockey team to back-to-back wins this weekend.
The sophomore from Dauphin, Pa., had two hat trick performances, one on Saturday in a 7-3 win against Colgate and the other in a 5-4 win on Sunday against Bucknell. She was named Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week on Monday for her efforts.
Youtz said the concept of working together as a team supercedes all of her personal achievements.
“I would say almost all of my success comes from my teammates, because they are the ones setting me up for goals and I’m just there to finish it,” Youtz said.
Youtz has scored 12 goals in 10 games this season, tripling her total from her freshman year.
Along with leading the Owls in goals scored, Youtz also leads the team in assists. She has six assists this season, including one on Sunday that led to a game-winning goal from freshman forward Alyssa Delp.
“One my goals this year is to have the same number of goals as I do assists, because that’s what I usually work for,” Youtz said. “But I want to do whatever I can to make our team succeed, whether that’s scoring or assisting.”
Delp said that Youtz’s pass-first mindset is a big part of the team’s success.
“[Youtz] is always where she needs to be and she is always there for everybody, and when she plays with confidence, she is probably our biggest asset,” Delp said.
Since losing leading scorer Bridget Settles last season, coach Amanda Janney said that the team needed someone to step up.
“We’ve been looking for a leader on the field, someone to take over the scoring that [Settles] provided for us last year,” Janney said. “[Youtz] is such a great player and she was able to put the game in her hands on Sunday.”
After her freshman season, in which Youtz started in all 22 games for Temple and was named to the 2011 A-10 All-Rookie Team, she said she knew that someone would need to replace the gap that Settles was leaving, and worked even harder this summer.
“After losing [Settles] last year I knew that I would have to step up as one of the returning forwards,” Youtz said. “So I just worked a lot on my fitness because I knew I would have to step up my game.”
Coming into her sophomore season, Youtz didn’t miss a beat. In the Owls’ season opener against No. 7 Virginia, Youtz scored two goals in a losing effort.
Youtz continues to keep working to get better throughout the season, Janney said.
“She just works so hard cutting for balls,” Janney said. “She’s become more of a playmaker, and she’s learning to see the passing lanes for herself.”
Youtz is bound to see a heightened level of attention from opposing defenses intent on keeping her away from the goal, Janney said.
But for Youtz, keeping the defense busy while her teammates score is something she hopes for.
“Another one of the goals I have is to be able to be that unselfish and know that I’m helping my teammates by clearing space,” Youtz said. “Anyone who knows the game of field hockey knows that I’m doing my job.”
With Youtz at the top of the scouting reports for other teams, players like Delp will be given opportunities to make bigger impacts on the game, Youtz said.
“[Delp] will be able to step up her game and show people what she can do, and I think I can clear space and give [Delp] more opportunities,” Youtz said.
For Janney, having Youtz taking shots isn’t a bad thing. She has a .686 shots on goal percentage and has scored 30 points this season.
Expectations are high for Youtz, and Janney said that she wants to continue to be relentless on the frontline.
“She has the talent and the skills to score multiple goals in every game, we know [Youtz] is going to take around five shots a game and we want to make sure [Youtz] is putting them away,” Janney said. “But we are looking for [Youtz] to step up.”
Colin Tansits can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @colin_tansits.