Getting to know Jess Orrett
Oct. 18, 2012
Sophomore midfielder Jess Orrett scored her first goal of the year in the victory over New Hampshire. She has three assists this season, but has primarily concentrated on defense. The native of Wells, Somerset, England took time after practice this week to talk to VirginiaSports.com about the upcoming game against No. 25 Wake Forest, her skill set, her career, and coming from the smallest city in England.
When did you first start playing field hockey?
I was pretty young, 8 maybe. I probably started club first then did it at school and then just kept going.
Is field hockey bigger in England than it is here?
It's much bigger. At school you'll choose to do either field hockey or a sport called netball, which you don't have here. You pretty much do those two. Netball is like basketball but you can't move your feet. It's not a good game basically, so most people choose hockey.
At what point did you realize you loved hockey and it was something you wanted to keep doing?
Probably when I moved schools when I was about 14. It was a special sports school where I just played hockey every day. That was really good. I really enjoyed it.
What do you love most about field hockey?
Probably that it's a team sport. I couldn't do an individual sport. I just look forward to training every day. I just enjoy coming out here.
When did you decide you wanted to come to the states for university?
Pretty late, probably my last year of school I started thinking about it seriously. And then around Christmastime my senior year, I was like "Yeah, I wanna do it." It is completely different from any university experience at home. The sport is so much more professional. You feel like a professional and you get treated so well.
You are from the town of Wells in Somerset, England, which was the location where the film Hot Fuzz was shot. For those who haven't seen the movie, describe your hometown.
It's a city because it's got a Cathedral, but it is very small. It's the smallest city in England. It's very old. There are cobblestone streets and churches and schools, and a little downtown. It's very small but it's very pleasant, we've lived there my whole life.
What is it like living in such a different place like Charlottesville?
Just the amount of shops they have here is unbelievable. Anywhere you go there's a store for anything, and there's any type of restaurant. We don't really have that, so it's very nice.
How often do your parents come to UVa?
Once a year in the fall they come out just to see us play a few games. My sister is actually coming out for spring break so we're going to do something, go somewhere nice and hot.
Is your sister older or younger? I've got two older sisters. One of them is still at university, and the other is graduated and working in London.
What is your job on the team?
As a defensive mid, my role is to help get the ball out of the back and then transfer from side to side on attack, give the width balls. Then, on defense, I've got to try to break it down in the middle and slow them down a bit, get them to a side and organize people.
What is your best skill?
Passing. I don't like to dribble very much. I just like to pass the ball.
What is team focusing on as you prepare for your home game against Wake this weekend?
I think when we play against harder teams we tend to not stick to our system in terms of attacking. We are really going to try on the 2 v. 1's, the width and the depth, and getting the ball out of the back. We can't fall apart when we are playing good teams. Personally, I will be focusing on passing and demanding the ball more.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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