Senior Lauren Elstein and the third-ranked Virginia field hockey team close the regular season this week with two games at home. The Cavaliers welcome Radford for a 5 p.m. contest Wednesday before playing host to Duke in an ACC contest at 1 p.m. Saturday. Elstein recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to chat about playing in her last home game, trick-or-treating on the Lawn and her future career aspirations.
Question: How was the Wake Forest game last weekend?
Elstein: It was a huge confidence booster, especially because we scored second-half goals. That showed a lot of maturity in the team. We came together and just played all-out in every way possible. We still have a lot of things to improve on but we really worked together and stayed focused for the whole game.
Question: Postseason play starts next week with the ACC Championship in Charlottesville. Are you ready?
Elstein: We definitely worked on a lot of things the last week and a half of practice. Nothing has been revamped, more just reworked. Michele (Madison) asked us if everyone got five percent better, where would we be? I think the Wake Forest game really showed that. We just need to continue to work on those little things and it will make a big difference over the course of the next month.
Question: And this week with Radford and Duke?
Elstein: We just have to focus on Radford before we can focus on anything else. We need to be focused for 70 minutes and just stick to our game plan like usual. Everyone seems to be in the right mindset - we have had some good practices.
Question: What will be going through your mind on Saturday?
Elstein: On the one hand, you have to think, this is a game like any other game, you have to treat it the same. On the other hand, it's weird to think, this is my last home game, after so many games here. It's exciting. I can't say it's sad, because I never want to go into a game sad. I'm excited we are playing Duke because we have had some great games against them in the past. It's a big ACC game just like any other and I'm trying not to think about the fact that it's my last one. I am really happy we have ACCs here this year.
Question: What does living on the Lawn mean to you?
Elstein: It's a huge honor. You hear about it as a first year but it kind of confuses you, because you wonder why, but over the next three years you learn to appreciate it. I don't think it hit me until I moved in and people come by and ask, and you explain what living on the Lawn means. It's so unique to UVa and I think it's because I love UVa so much - that's what I enjoy it so much.
Question: Have you met a lot of other people you wouldn't have otherwise known?
Elstein: As an student-athlete you spend a lot of time with other student-athletes. They are great people and I love them. But it is really great to be in a community of completely diverse people. I have really enjoyed getting to know people at the university I would have otherwise not known.
Question: Are you ready for all the trick-or-treaters to come visit the Lawn on Friday?
Elstein: We aren't usually here for it, but this year I am excited because we play at home this weekend so we are here. We have practice for some of it on Friday, but hopefully I will be able to catch the end of it. It's one of the coolest things to see so many of the community residents and their kids running around the Lawn. It's cool to think this is my home. Athletes in Action is sponsoring my room so it's going to be a great time.
Question: What are your future career goals?
Elstein: I would like to work in the business world for a few years and get my MBA. Eventually down the line I would like to work with non-profits, ideally, some sort of international development. First I need some experience, knowledge, capital and relationships to be more effective down the line.