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Oct. 22, 2015

Charlottesville native Taylor Brown will be the lone senior being honored at this Saturday’s Senior Day game. The striker reflects on her four-year Cavalier career as well as talking about her summer job as a production assistant for a production company in Cape Town, South Africa.

Can you believe it’s almost over?
“No, I can’t. I don’t want to believe it’s almost over.”

You’ve got Senior Day all to yourself this weekend which is extremely rare. This was initially a recruiting class of two. The other player who came in with you, Rebecca Holden, redshirted a season and will be coming back next year. So you came in as two freshmen on a very veteran team. What was that like at the very beginning?
“The one word that comes to mind is intimidating, especially because Paige [Selenski] and Michelle [Vittese] were returning as fifth years and my experience and skills were not really comparable to theirs. That was humbling and eye-opening all at the same time. I was a scared first-year not knowing where to go or what to do. And hockey-wise, there was a lot I didn’t know, but it also put me in a position to learn quickly, which was good. Becca and I were roommates first year, so we kept each other on track. It was nice to have someone there to keep you sane. We could vent to each other about how it is being a first-year and just normal conversations that first-years have. I don’t know what I would have done if I would have had to do it alone, so I am just very happy Becca has been there with me through the whole time.”

As a Charlottesville native, when you first came to UVA, was it a harder transition than you thought it would be just moving across town?
“I didn’t expect it to be hard or easy, I didn’t really have much of an expectation. Growing up in Charlottesville, I knew that UVA was an amazing school academically and athletically, especially the field hockey program that I was about to join. I knew I was getting myself into a lot of hard work. Being a Charlottesville native, my parents made it clear to me before I came here that they would treat me as if I was at a college miles and miles away versus maybe four. So that was nice. I actually felt like I was away at college despite being in my hometown.”

As somebody who didn’t have a large class for their own, you related to a lot of the upperclassmen. You have said before that Lane Smith ’13 was an inspiration academically for you.
“Absolutely. Yeah coming in with a small class, the hardest part was trying to really insert yourself into the family that already existed. It took a little bit of time and maybe not until the Spring semester of my freshman year did it really happen. I think everyone’s first-year-Fall is kind of chaos. Once I got to know everybody a little bit better, I got to see the different things people were doing with their time. Lane was a media studies major and I really enjoyed the project she did her fourth year, a documentary that featured me in it, which is really cool. I took a liking to what she was doing in media studies. Later, I took that same class and we watched her documentary in class and I watched myself on screen and it was really funny. Lane’s an amazing person. It was really cool to connect with people on many different levels and actually get to discover something that I’m passionate about which is nice.”

Talk about that passion and how it has literally taken you to the ends of the Earth.
“Before college, I never thought of filmmaking as something that I would want to do. I loved making videos and home videos and watching movies, but that was kind of the extent of it. Once I realized that production was something I wanted to go in to, I explored many options. I thought about doing an internship in the States, but I didn’t want to miss out on the opportunity to go abroad as well. So I tried to get two birds with one stone and it took me to Cape Town, South Africa where I interned with a production company for two months, which was unbelievable. I learned a lot so it was a really good experience.”

Tell us a little about your internship.
“The culture of South Africa is unbelievable and unlike anything I’ve experienced. It was my first abroad experience. The culture was really cool and the animals were awesome. As for the internship, film and TV production is growing so fast in Cape Town, so it was really cool to be a part of it. I worked as a production assistant on a few commercial sets. I spent most of my time observing, but if they needed any water or tea or anything, I would help out. I was on the set for a commercial that had children stars so I helped entertain the kids in between scenes. That was fun. I spent a lot of time helping my boss with some preproduction location scouting for a feature film he’s working on. I read a lot of scripts and saw some casting sheets. I really got to see a lot of parts of production that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It was cool to see all the different parts that went into it. I also got to be in a commercial, which was weird but really fun, too. It was a South African tire commercial. It’s just a funky commercial, but it was really fun. I think I discovered that I’m more of a behind-the-camera person. Acting is a lot harder than it looks.”

You got back into the country a few weeks before preseason camp. Did you have a chance to train a lot when you were in South Africa?
“It was hard to run and work out, but I did try. It was winter when I was there in the Southern Hemisphere, so it was in the fifties. I was running in leggings and a sweatshirt everyday and doing sprints on this grass field that I would have to pace out the yardage with my feet. So it was different, very different. But I managed to do as much as I can. I did get to get on a field hockey pitch once, but I think they found the hole in the gate so they kicked me out next time, but it was fun for like ten minutes.”

Looking back over these four years, what have been some of your greatest moments that you are always going to treasure that have happened to you on the field?
“Definitely my first year at home, we beat Maryland, which was a huge upset so that will be something I will never forget, the atmosphere of the win and then everybody rushing the field. I was still learning my place but I knew that that was just a huge win and was really awesome to be apart of. Another big one was the win last year at UNC, but I wasn’t actually on the field. I was in the middle of my back injury, so I wasn’t travelling. I watched it online on my computer. I remember screaming and screaming in my apartment. I live with all field hockey players so no one was there, thankfully. I remember them coming home and me greeting them with hugs. I know I wasn’t on the field for that, but that was still a huge thing for our team and even though I wasn’t there I still felt a part of it.”

Saturday is Senior Day, but you definitely have a few more games here on the blue turf. How nice is it to be hosting the ACC tournament and knowing that you have Saturday is a game where you will be honored, but you still have more time to be out at Turf Field?
“It feels amazing. It couldn’t have worked out better that we were hosting, especially for my fourth year. Not only do we get to have our own fan base and we get to play on our own field, but also travelling kind of takes it out of you a little bit. It will be nice to have that advantage.We play so well on our own field. “

Going into your last regular season home game, are there some people that you would like to thank, or some special messages you would like to say?
“My parents, Todd and Nicole Brown. They have done everything for me. They’ve been there. I think this year they haven’t missed a game yet, which is awesome and I don’t think they plan on it, which is really awesome. My brother, Hunter. He hasn’t been able to make that many games, but he will be coming in to town for Senior Day so that will be nice to see him there. My boyfriend gets to come in town, which is really nice. I don’t get to see him much as he is up in New York. So I’ll get to see my whole family and my boyfriend and it will probably be the best day. Especially if we win.”

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