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Oct. 4, 2012

Defender Maddie DeCerbo has started all 13 games this season for the Cavaliers. She has been a silent contributor to the team all season with a defensive save against Miami (Ohio) the only mark on her stat line. chatted with the back after practice this week to help fans better get to know the second year player from Surf City, New Jersey.

When did you first start playing field hockey?
Around fifth grade. I played soccer first and I didn’t really want to play field hockey, but my sister played so I tried it. Then I scored on her and I was like, “OK. I’ll play.’

Why didn’t you want to play field hockey?
I think it was the mouth guards actually. I absolutely hated it. And I was in love with soccer and just wanted to play soccer forever, but that changed. I played travel soccer and club field hockey until eighth grade, then I stuck with field hockey.

Did you start playing as a defender?
No, when I went to my club team, my coach moved me to defense. At school, I played midfield, until later on.

What was it that your club coach saw that made her think you would be a good defender?
I think it was patience, I’m not really sure. She just thought I’d be good back there, just to try me out. Then it just worked. She always had me at left back actually, so I’ve played left back since eighth grade on my club team. And I play left back here, so it’s just been my position.

What is your main job as a left back?
Keep the attackers to the outside, and make sure they don’t get to Jenny [Johnstone]. Also to get the ball out without turning it over, which I’m working on getting better at, so when we do get the ball we can continue with it up the field.

What is your strongest skill?
I guess I’ve been getting better at end line defense. I’ve been working at getting better at that, especially on the left side. It’s much harder because you have to get your feet all the way around. I’ve been doing that more this season.

Coming from New Jersey, what was the biggest change moving to Charlottesville?
I live at the beach in New Jersey, so that would be the biggest thing. I love the beach in September, especially since I’m not there anymore. It’s a little bit cooler, but there’s also no tourists there, so it’s all to ourselves. I even like going onto the beach in a sweatshirt

Back in Jersey, your first job was in a pretzel factory?
My dad owns two Philly Pretzel Factories out by where we are. He made me put on the pretzel costume a few times, and I worked there all through high school. I know how to make them; we make the dough and everything. It’s fun.

With Yale coming up, what does the team need to do to extend the winning streak to seven games?
We need to work really hard. We can’t go in there casually like we did against St. Joe’s and give up stupid things. We need to work hard and play our system. It’s going to be really great experience leading up to playing against UNC and Wake.

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