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Annie Taylor is funny.

Witty observations, laugh-at-life humor, even slapstick. She has a knack for lightening a mood and making people laugh.

But don’t let the humor fool you into thinking she is anything less than a self-described cutthroat competitor.

“I enjoy being, it sounds so annoying, but being the center of attention,” Taylor says. “I like to lighten the mood. I don’t think of myself as a joke, or not serious, because it’s definitely serious what we’re doing on the field, but sometimes you have to make light of the situation. Our whole team is quirky and fun. It makes it easy to be funny because there are so many funny things to observe. I’m just more outspoken about it.

But I do think when I transition from being funny to being like ‘let’s get this done’ it’s welcomed,” Taylor says. “There’s never a blurred line because people know that I have that side to me too. I’m hard on myself, I’m a hard worker and I don’t take not being successful well.”

Taylor, a native of Alexandria, Va., has a lot to smile about these days. Now in her fourth year at Virginia, she and the Cavaliers have won three-consecutive games heading into Senior Day vs. Boston College, including an upset of No. 6 Duke on the road last weekend.

She calls coming to UVa one of the greatest accomplishments of her life, and now as a member of the senior class she describes the passion the seniors have for wanting to be a part of something great.

“We know the potential we have, not only as a class, but as a team,” Taylor says. “Now we’re psyched to be in this position to lead the team. We want to be the catalyst to something great.”
Taylor has had a few setbacks during her career, battling chronic ankle sprains and most recently a partially torn hamstring suffered in late January.

“I was running, Josie [Owen] had beaten me in this long one-v-one drill and as I was sprinting it felt like a rubber band had just snapped,” Taylor says. “I knew something was wrong. They said it was a partial tear. I was out for about five weeks. It amazed me when the bruising went away and I could walk and rehab how weak it was, and how much it’s set me back. Even now that I’ve been practicing for a few weeks, I can feel the fatigue in my legs.”

Taylor saw action in the Cavaliers’ most recent victory, a 14-13 win over Old Dominion on Wednesday evening. The only defender in a five-person senior class, Taylor is looking to continue her leadership role.

“It’s been almost like a re-birth,” Taylor says. “I missed the first three games, and from then on I wasn’t a viable sub because I had been out for so long. Now that I’m finally back to full strength, I still am getting back into full shape, but at least injury wise it doesn’t hurt as much. It’s been good. I have a lot more optimism. You can feel sorry for yourself but when you’re playing and practicing and part of the team it’s a much better situation to be in.”

Taylor and her fellow seniors are looking keep their momentum going from the recent win streak and are seeking a deep run in the 2012 postseason.

“JMU was a huge win, we haven’t beaten JMU since my first year,” Taylor says. “At Duke we carried the momentum. Duke is a great team, but nothing is safe in the ACC. Boston College is also a great team, and they always play teams tough. They beat us last year by a good chunk. We’re too good of players to let this opportunity go to waste.”

Taylor is majoring in Spanish and minoring in economics. Not surprisingly, she jokes that her current career goal is to make a lot of money and possibly write a book about her experience about her time at Virginia.

Then as it sometimes does with Taylor, the humor fades to seriousness as she contemplates her final months on Grounds.

“Hopefully I will find something I’m really passionate about,” she says. “It’s scary but exciting. There’s endless potential.”

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