By Matt Leon
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – This week, for the first time in a dozen years, when the NFHCA Division I National Field Hockey Coaches Poll was released, it included Temple.
The Owls jumped from unranked to #11 in this latest poll, thanks to a 3-1 start, which included a road win over then #6 Penn State.
“It’s really awesome,” Temple senior captain Molly Doyle tells KYW Newsradio. “I mean we’ve worked so hard, I’ve worked really hard throughout my four years and to finally have that ranking, when I feel that I’ve played on teams that have kind of deserved it but we’ve never really gotten it, and to finally get it feels really awesome.”
Temple is building off a solid campaign, they went 12-9 in 2012, and with a ton of talent returning, head coach Amanda Janney was confident her squad could break through here in 2013.
“We just have a core group of really competitive, strong athletes, and these guys know what Division I is about,” Janney tells KYW Newsradio. “They came here to train. They worked hard all spring, all summer, and they really committed themselves to be dedicated to Temple field hockey and we’re seeing it pay off with goals and wins. We just feel like we’re faster than our opponents right now. Our players are more skilled because of all the off-season training they’ve done and we’re proud that we’re able to play against top ten teams. We’re right at #11, we think we’re knocking on the door to be ranked tenth if we can get a couple more wins under our belt. We’re just thrilled with how our program is headed in the right direction.”
It is one thing to finally get into the rankings, but a lot of times the tougher task is staying there, and that is something the Owls are very aware of.
“I definitely think we are in a tougher position now,” Doyle says. “It kind of helps being the underdog, in my opinion, and trying to win games when you have nothing to lose. But now we do have something to lose, we are ranked 11th, people are going to be gunning for us, we have a bulls-eye on our back. So we just need to calm and a cool head about it and just maintain the way that we’ve been playing.”
Janney is hopeful this is just the first step of an exciting journey here in 2013.
“I think the word is out, people know that we have some amazing players on our team,” Janney says. “That we have one of the best forwards in the nation (sophomore Amber Youtz). She scored over twenty goals, she was ranked top ten all last year in scoring, so they know we have a top forward. People know our goalkeeper, (redshirt junior) Lizzy Millen, is one of the best in the nation and she is showing it right now. So we are hoping we kind of continue to get the respect and the high rankings every week.”
Youtz and Doyle are tied for the team lead in scoring this season, each has four goals and two assists. Millen has a 1.99 GAA and an .814 save percentage in net here in the early going.
Temple plays its first game as the #11 team in the nation on Friday when they visit Delaware.
You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.