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Sophomore Megan Dunleavy is a starting defender for Virginia’s women’s lacrosse team this year. An attacking midfielder in high school, Dunleavy has made the switch to defense and helped the Cavaliers shut down their opponents’ top attackers all season. She talks with about this year’s defense and the team’s love for dancing.

Question: You’ve worked your way into the starting lineup on defense this year. What is the biggest thing you learned from your freshman season?
Dunleavy: I think the biggest thing I took away from my freshman season was that conditioning is one of the most important aspects of the game. After last year, I now have a better understanding of the conditioning that is necessary for me to do in order to get into the best “game shape” possible.

Question: What would you say is the strength of this year’s defensive group?
Dunleavy: I think that the strength of this year’s defensive group is our ones versus ones. All throughout the fall and now in the spring we have all focused on fine-tuning our ones-versus ones and I think that has helped us a lot so far.

Question: Have you always been a defender?
Dunleavy: I have not always been a defender. All through high school I was an attacking midfielder.

Question: What do you like most about defense?
Dunleavy: My favorite part about defense is getting a turnover, or a “glory ground ball” as Molly McClintic would say.

Question: When did you first start playing lacrosse? Or how did you get involved with the sport?
Dunleavy: I first started to play lacrosse when I was in fifth grade. I got involved through summer camps and playing with my Braddock Road Youth Lacrosse team in the spring.

Question: Who was influential to you early on in your career?
Dunleavy: I would say that my older brother and sister were influential to me early in my career because they both played and I would always go to their games and watch them.

Question: How did you end up at Virginia?
Dunleavy: Virginia has always been a dream school of mine ever since I was younger, so when the coaches called and offered me a spot, I was more than happy to say yes.

Question: What is your favorite aspect of being a part of the UVa women’s lacrosse program?
Dunleavy: My favorite aspect of being a part of UVa’s women’s lacrosse program is that it is not only a team, but it’s a family. Our team is so close and we would all do anything for one another. I also love how the UVa lacrosse community extends far after you graduate here. Alumni come back all the time for games and other events.

Question: I hear that this year’s team likes to dance – especially on the bus and in the locker room. Who would you say are the best dancers on the team?
Dunleavy: Dancing would definitely be our team’s second hobby besides lacrosse! I would give the best dancers to BaileyDunleavy: “crip-walk” Fogarty, Leigh Ruland and myself, “MegNasty”. Shout out to my main back-up dancerDunleavy: Josie Owen!

Question: What about the worst?
Dunleavy: I’m not going say worst, but “most room for improvement” would be Erin Laschinger. She needs to loosen up those arms a little. However, we all know she is the leader of “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus!

Question: The team has a couple of big non-conference games at home this weekend. What are you most looking forward to in them?
Dunleavy: I am looking forward to bouncing back after our one-goal loss at UNC and showing everyone how good we truly are.

Question: With how strong of a conference the ACC is, how important is it to play well and win non-conference games?
Dunleavy: It is important for us to play well and win non-conference games because I think the ACC is one of the most competitive conferences for lacrosse. It’s not only key to play well in ACC games, but in non-conference games as well, in order to improve our overall ranking.

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