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Sept. 25, 2015

In this week’s Q&A, junior midfielder Katie Kelly recaps the William & Mary game, previews the upcoming tough stretch of the Cavaliers’ schedule and tells us about traveling through China.

Tell us about your first goal of the season the other night against William & Mary.
It was really exciting, I saw Tara coming down with the ball and I know she’s a great ball handler, so I just had my stick down, ready to go. She passed it and I was there, so I just tapped it in and it was a goal.

You were in the starting line up on Monday. Normally, this would be a very happy occasion, but the weather in the particular game you were starting…how terrible were the conditions out there?
It was honestly some of the worst conditions I’ve ever played in. we couldn’t see anything with the rain. You couldn’t really pass the ball towards the end of the game. The second half it was worse because it didn’t stop raining and the ball was traveling so slow, it was really tough but we still played well together and we came out with a win so it was nice.

What kind of adjustments do you make in a situation like that, because it’s definitely something you can’t plan for?
You just have to stay focused and get excited and motivate the team. When I was on the sideline after coming out, I was jumping around trying to stay warm because it was also chilly. You just have to stay positive and then just play through it.

And coming away with a win has to make that a little bit better.
Yeah, it was a good win. William & Mary is always a great team, but we just pulled through. It was good we scored early because if we were down it would be so hard to come back and score because it was so hard to play in those conditions.

You have a huge game coming up this weekend, how do you mentally prepare to not over-hype playing Syracuse?
Since we have a great record, we have to just go in and stay really focused. Syracuse always gives us a great game. We just need to work on staying focused and positive and just playing hard.

You’ve been on the team for the last three years, but you’re seeing a lot more playing time this year. What has been the biggest change in game since freshman year?
I would just say at practice I work on things I’ve been struggling with, but definitely putting more time in and trying to stay fit has helped too.

Speaking of your freshman year and fitness, the first sight thing that you did during that first camp your freshman year was absolutely crush the fitness test. Have you always been a runner?
No. In high school, I started running more my junior year. Coming in to UVa, all of the first years are really scared about the fitness test. Especially my sister [Megan] and I. We wanted to make sure we were prepared, so we came in really fit and not needing to worry about that, like passing my fitness test for the first time was relief. I just like to stay fit because it helps my game a lot

How much does that conditioning help you transition into the season?
It’s always good coming in fit. [Assistant coach] Adam [Matter] has helped us maintain our fitness. He makes sure we are not killing ourselves, that we are not doing too much, but staying in the right fitness.

This summer, you participated in the Young Women’s National Championship. How much did that help you heading into this year?
It was a great experience. I met a lot of new players and playing with that high of competition was really good. It helped me get better, working with different college coaches and seeing their new techniques and side of coaching. I just learned a lot of new things, working with new players helped me a lot.

How long have you been playing field hockey now?
I started in the grade school (third grade) and I played club too. The club was really intense so that helped me a lot.

Most people know you are a twin and that your sister, Megan, also plays on the Cavaliers, but you two actually have an “almost triplet”. When did you first meet Becca Zamojcin?
We’ve been neighbors since we were four. And we grew up doing everything together. We played soccer together, field hockey, we went to the same grade school, high school, college now, and it’s great having her as a best friend forever.

The three of you traveled to China with your club team when you were in high school. What was that trip like?
It was good experience traveling there with the WC Eagles because I had never been to China. It was good meeting new people, experiencing a different country, and trying new food. It was definitely different, like the living conditions. We were in a small province so it wasn’t very clean, but the people were really nice. We played against a bunch of Chinese teams so the girls were really nice. And it was a higher level, because they were so much younger than us and they were so good. The Chinese national team was amazing. It was definitely an experience.

Did you learn to speak some Chinese?
I could only say hi, “nÇ hÇŽo”. But it was funny, going to and being around even McDonald’s, the people working there knew English pretty well. I mean no one in our group knew any Chinese, but a bunch of the Chinese people knew English and could speak pretty well, so that was pretty interesting.

What are you majoring in? Foreign affairs. I took some politics classes my first year and they were interesting so I thought I would major in it. But I’m not sure what I want to do when I get out of here. This coming summer, I would definitely want to try an internship, but I also want to travel abroad. My sister and I are thinking about going abroad this summer, like girls did last year.

So somewhere like Europe?
Definitely Europe.

Something more low-key than China?
Yeah, definitely don’t want to go back there. Europe would be cool .

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