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Oct. 12, 2012

Carissa Vittese scored goals in four of the first five games of the 2012 season. The junior began her Cavalier career playing midfield, before switching to playing back last season. This year, she converted back to midfield. She took a few moments after practice this week to talk to about her position switch, her goal scoring, her summer travels to the Olympics, and about the upcoming showdown against No. 2 North Carolina.

When did you first start playing field hockey?
I was 13 when I started playing field hockey. My family actually grew up playing roller hockey and since roller hockey isn’t very common for highs schools, we started playing field hockey. We continued playing club roller hockey through middle school and high school until we got to college. My dad played roller hockey. My mom wanted us to do dance and my dad wanted us to do roller hockey. We all just chose roller hockey over dance. I was six when I started playing roller hockey, in like a toddler ring.

You have played midfield and back for the Cavaliers. Mentally, what is the difference between playing the two positions?
You are more able to make a mistake in the midfield. It’s still frowned upon when you make a mistake, but in the backfield, if you make a mistake it normally leads to a goal or a corner or a positive for them. They definitely capitalize more on mistakes in the backfield. In the midfield, you are able to get back and resettle and regroup as a team.

What is one thing you have been focusing on improving this season?
I guess scoring goals. I’m not much of a goal scorer. I thought that would be good for me. I don’t normally like shooting the ball that much when I am in the circle. I’ll look to get a foul and a corner or I’ll look to pass the ball. I’ve been looking to shoot more and get stronger shooting.

What is your biggest strength as a player?
Getting a foul in the circle. I am able to find a foot or get a little stick hack on me. That is probably my strongest skill.

What is your favorite thing about playing field hockey?
I like playing with my sisters. Playing with Michelle and Tara is what I love most about it. And my teammates. I love my teammates. But I have always played with my younger sister and my older sister. It has always been our own little competition at home and we always connect a little bit more on the field.

This summer you got to go London to watch the Olympics. Tell us what that experience was like.
It was overwhelming. It wasn’t what I expected. I enjoyed every second of it. It was really cool seeing all of the athletes. I got to see Ryan Lochte when I was in the P&G House. I got to see Tyson Chandler who was on the basketball team. I got to see a lot of the athletes, which was awesome. The only thing I didn’t enjoy is that normally when I am home, I get to watch all the sports. The only thing I got to watch there was field hockey. I didn’t get to watch other thing, like track and field events. I didn’t get to watch basketball. But it was awesome getting to see Michelle and Paige. We were staying at a house like five bus stops away from Olympic Park.

On your profile on the ExperienceUVAFieldHockey site, it says that it is a tossup as to whether Optimus Prime or the Spice Girls were your true childhood hero. Have you decided between them yet?
I love The Spice Girls. I actually got to see them perform at the closing ceremonies. That was really good. I love Transformers. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Transformers. So, no. I’m still in a bit of a pickle.

There is a huge game this Saturday at North Carolina. What are you doing to prepare for that?
I think we have worked really hard this last week. And these past two games, we have really improved ourselves. New Hampshire was a big game and we came out and beat them 7-0. That was a big win for us. We just need to keep up the confidence. We have been working on our 2-v-1’s and our corners.

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