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BRSN Athlete of the Week Q & A: Women’s Field Hockey Sophomore Defensewoman Samantha McI

Hi Sam, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with BRSN and congratulations on your fantastic weekend! Thanks to your stellar defending skills, the Big Red only gave up one goal while defeating Yale (1-0) and Holy Cross (5-1). How does that feel? Thank you! It’s always rewarding to get two wins in a weekend. It’s nice to have some momentum going into the final stretch of our season.

What do you want to accomplish playing with the Big Red this year? It would be amazing to win the Ivy League Championship and advance into the NCAA Tournament, but ultimately it’s about the journey, and not the destination.

When did you first start playing field hockey? I first started to play in 2004 when I was 7 years old. My mom put me in field hockey as she used to play (and still does).

Can you walk us through a typical training session? Without getting into too many details, we typically warm up, incorporate some conditioning, focus on skills/drills, scrimmage, and some short corners. A little bit of everything.

Who has had the biggest influence on your field hockey career? I have been really privileged to have had some amazing coaches and mentors during my career. My parents are my greatest supporters. Also, my coaches from Canada, including Bubli Chohan, Shiaz Virgee, Steph Andrews and Brian Lewis. But my greatest influence continues to be my Cornell teammates and coaches…..because we make each other better every day.

What are the traits, physically and mentally, that a successful defensewoman needs to have? There isn’t a special formula, but I think what differentiates a solid defensive player from other positions is patience and composure (or so I would like to think). Without the ball, it is critical to be able to read the play before it develops and to be able to communicate well with your teammates – including the goalie. With the ball, we strive to outlet and counterattack as quickly as possible.

If you didn’t play field hockey, what sport would you play? I secretly would love to be a ballerina, because I love the clean lines and the discipline required to excel. Too bad I have two left feet!

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