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Sophomore Annie Taylor is a starting defender on Virginia’s women’s lacrosse team. This past weekend, the No. 12 Cavaliers upset No. 6 Syracuse, 14-13, at the UHall Turf Field and will look to take a two-game win streak on the road to Maryland and Penn State this weekend. Virginia will face the second-ranked Terrapins on Friday before heading to No. 13 Penn State for a 1 p.m. contest on Sunday.

Question: When the game is on the line like it was on Saturday, how do you feel?
Taylor: When the game is on the line, I always play better. I love playing under pressure, and the emotion and intensity of my teammates always pumps me up and makes me rise to the occasion.

Question: How excited was the team to upset Syracuse?
Taylor: The team was SO excited to upset Syracuse. We came so far from the week before in our game against Loyola and it was awesome to see our hard work and determination pay off. One person on our team said it seemed like we just won a national championship by the way we were celebrating. But that was how excited we were that we all came together, both starters and nonstarters, to pull off this win.

Question: What has been your favorite memory of UVa lacrosse so far?
Taylor: My favorite memory of lacrosse so far might actually be our win this past weekend against Syracuse. I have so many little memories with my teammates and have loved every minute of being on the team, but our win this past weekend feels almost like redemption for our disappointing season last year. I know we still have a very long season, but this win has helped set the positive and exciting tone for the rest of the year.

Question: The Cavaliers have consistently had a player from St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes on their roster. What is that like to have someone from your high school on your college team?
Taylor: I love playing with other girls from my high school. We all instantly have chemistry because most of us have been playing with each other not only through high school but also in middle and lower school. Socially, it is really nice too because we can talk about things from home and relate on a different level than I can with any of my other teammates.

Question: When did you start playing lacrosse?
Taylor: I started playing lacrosse in fourth grade. I became interested in it during my PE class at school. My high school lacrosse coach, Kathy Jenkins, was actually my PE coach when I was in fourth grade, and she was the one who really got me interested in playing.

Question: What is something most people don’t know about you?
Taylor: I’m very open so there isn’t much. Something that outsiders might not know is that I’m kind of a nerd and obsessed with news and weather. Some people on my team call me the weather lady because I always know the forecast, and I also love to stay up to date with politics and global news.

Question: What has been your greatest challenge as an athlete?
Taylor: My greatest challenge as an athlete has definitely been my multiple ankle sprains. I have sprained my ankle four times and each time I not only have to rehab my ankle, but I also have to get my mental and physical toughness back.

Question: What are your thoughts on playing Maryland and Penn State this weekend? Two nationally ranked teams – in addition to your ACC opener – in your first road trip of the season. What is the team hoping to accomplish?
Taylor: In our first road trip to Maryland and Penn State, I know our team is looking to keep making progress and get better. We all know that there is a long road left in the year, and one of our main goals is to keep getting better day-by-day, game-by-game. But of course, I know we all really, really want to win this weekend too!

Question: Is there anything specific you personally want to accomplish this weekend?
Taylor: Personally, I want to keep getting better and more confident. I love playing with my teammates and they all definitely boost my confidence, but I want to continue stepping up to become a more solid, consistent and impact player.

Question: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Taylor: Pregame, I love to listen to my iPod, which I know is a pretty standard pregame ritual. But I’ve listened to “Til I Collapse” by Eminem before every game since my freshman year in high school. I don’t know why, but that song really gets me pumped up!

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