Senior Sarah Weber sat down with VirginiaSports.com to discuss field hockey and why she wants to become a high school special education teacher.
When did you first start playing field hockey?
I was 12 when I first started playing field hockey. My mom played when she was younger and she actually started the recreation league in my hometown. Both of my older sisters played, so it was kind of in the family. It was something to do on Sunday afternoons. From there, I just continued playing through middle school and high school.
Your mom, Ginny Weber, was a lacrosse player at Delaware. Your two sisters, Virginia and Elizabeth, were lacrosse players at Loyola. You were a lacrosse player. How did you end up deciding to just play field hockey?
I played lacrosse all through middle school and high school, but I just liked field hockey better. I could see myself playing field hockey for another four years rather than lacrosse. I knew there were a lot more areas I could grow in as a player in field hockey.
What is it that you really like about playing field hockey?
I feel it is much different that other sports. I really like the pace of the game. It is a really great team sport to play because so many different people can have touches on the ball. It is a great team camaraderie.
How would you explain field hockey to someone who is unfamiliar with the sport?
I tell them that it is more like lacrosse than like ice hockey because of the number of people and playing on a field. I also explain that you can only use one side of the stick, which tends to make them ask lots of follow up questions about how that works.
How does it work, using only one side of the stick?
You use your reverse, so you have to turn the angle of your hands. You have to get used to using the one side, but it becomes natural after awhile.
What has changed the most about you as a player since your first season at UVa?
You have been a key player for the team coming off the bench. How do you keep yourself ready to go in anytime?
Confidence. My first year, I was not very confident as a player and was hesitant and tentative at times, but now since I know the system, I feel like I know what I am supposed to do and it is extremely rewarding that I know I can do it.
Mentally, it is just watching the game and figuring out what I need to do when I get in there, playing off of what I see our team doing and what the other team is doing, so that when I get called to go in, I know exactly what I am supposed to do and can fulfill my role on the team. When I do go in, my main job is working on the runs and the press, working with the width and depth leads and making the runs, not necessarily to get the ball, but to open the lanes. Sometimes I do get the ball, which is usually to keep the passing game going.
You are majoring in special education and English. What do you intend to do with that after you graduate?
It is a double major in the Curry School [of Education] and I am an English major in the college. It is a five year program and I will come out with my masters when I am done. I want to teach high school when I graduate. Growing up, I saw a lot of difficulties with people in special education not being treated equally. I want to be able to inspire them and have them graduate and have them be able to be productive individuals in the `real world' and support themselves on their own. I like that fact that I will know that I can help someone every day. I have done a bunch of field experiences. I have been in an ESL [English as a Second Language] class. I've been in a kindergarten class and helped with kids who have reading difficulties, so I've been exposed from K through 12, which has really helped me figure out what grade-level I want to teach.