Q&A with Field Hockey's Maddie DeCerbo
Sept. 3, 2014
Senior back Maddie DeCerbo sat down with VirginiaSports.com to share how she spent her summer vacation as well as explaining life on the road and her role on the field this season as one of Virginia’s four co-captains.
How did you spend your summer?
DeCerbo: I had an internship in Washington, D.C., working for a utility company, Pepco Holdings, in their public policy department. I helped with their lobbyists and worked on a report on net metering for solar customers, all of which was very interesting. I also spent two weeks working in New Jersey so I could be closer to family, but most of my summer was in DC. I’m studying public policy, so this was a great opportunity. I really liked it, but we’ll see what comes of it. I don’t know if this is what I want to do forever, but I did enjoy it.
What is your ultimate dream job?
DeCerbo: I haven’t quite figured that out yet, but definitely something where I can travel. I would be very excited to work for a company that has offices in multiple countries that would give me the opportunity to move around.
Speaking of liking to travel, you have started the season with three-straight road games. Tell everyone about the process of getting to William & Mary, Penn State and Iowa.
DeCerbo: Last week, we drove to William & Mary. That was easy as that is a short trip. After the game on Friday, we rode the bus up to Penn State and got in really late. You always need to be positive on the road because it can get hard and tiring. But the bus rides are fun. We all watch movies and bond a little bit more. We took a sleeper bus on the Penn State trip, so there are beds everywhere. I, personally, don’t sleep in the upper bunks, because I’d get sick up there. Becca Holden was up in a top bunk. And Macy (Peebles), who I think tries to pretend she’s not on the bus because she gets pretty motion sick. And Jeannie (Blackwood), she is always up in the front of the bus and likes the top berths. The upperclassmen are usually in the back and on the sleeper bus, we get one of the lower beds. Jenny (Johnstone) and I were sharing one for this trip. For Iowa, we got up early in the morning, took the bus to DC, and then took two flights to get to Iowa. The trips are tiring, but you just have to stay focused, but also try to have fun.
All four of the seniors on this year’s teams are sharing the team captain duties. What are your responsibilities?
DeCerbo: Jenny (Johnstone) is our main captain, because she is the most vocal and just kind of takes charge naturally. The rest of us try to be a liaison between the team and the coach and make sure that everyone is focused. We are trying to step-up more this year to lead the team as a group. The four of us have always done a pretty good job of leading by example, so we are going to continue to do that.
What is the one thing you have tasked yourself with this season when it comes to leadership?
DeCerbo: I’m trying to work on being more vocal on the field. I have always kind of struggled with that because I am not that loud. I think I have been communicating a lot more, especially since I started playing center mid. It is really, really important for a center mid to do that. I’m also working on keeping up the pace at practices and in games and making sure it is always at a high level.
Tell us a bit about your move to playing center back.
DeCerbo: In the past, I have always played either left or right back, and last year I even played a little bit of striker, so playing center back has been fun. As a center back, I have to hold the structure. It is really important that the structure offensively and defensively is held because if you are out of position, it will mess up everything coming down the middle. I have been focusing on that a lot. Transitioning to attack is something we need to work on. That is a good role for me to help with since I’m in the middle there.
What was one thing that you have worked on improving in your game?
DeCerbo: Possession passes out of the back, making sure they are always 100 percent. If you lose it back there, it is a lot more dangerous, so I’m making sure that it is 100 percent on. I’m also focusing on coming out and playing with confidence. I think that confidence and having faith in your skill helps a lot with possession passes.
What is it like having such a young team?
DeCerbo: It doesn’t feel like there are a lot of different grades. Everyone is very close. The second-years are very outspoken and step up a lot. The team is really, really excited and pushing really hard. We had a tough loss to Penn State, but we fought and competed the entire time. No one gave up. Everyone is really competitive.
Your sophomore season ended with a loss to Princeton in the NCAA Tournament. Are you looking forward to having a chance to play them again this weekend?
DeCerbo: Every year is different and we don’t really look back at the past, but I will admit that we were looking forward to be able to avenge the loss we had last season against William & Mary, and we did. So that was good. With Princeton, we know that every year they are really good, so we know that we need to prepare for a really tough game. If we can beat a team like that, that will be a huge positive.