Freshman Hadley Bell and the No. 3 Virginia field hockey team compete at home this week in the NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers are hosting for the second straight year and play Michigan State at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. Bell, a native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to chat about the NCAA selection show, her first semester at UVa, and her international experience.
Question: What was it like watching the NCAA selection show and discovering that the team will be hosting in the first round?
Bell: The fact that we're hosting is super exciting. It's more comfortable for us to be on our own field, and you get to spend more time together before the game. It just makes me feel less nervous about it. It was fun to see all the teams that were left and the brackets and stuff. It's good for us - all of our hard work paid off and we're hosting and get to play some good teams.
Question: Does your mentality change going into the tournament now that it is a one-and-done situation?
Bell: Yes and no. We play the whole season knowing that we only get one chance to beat a team but we have to keep improving. Now, we've worked so hard, we can't just let it go. It's scary because one little mistake could cost us the whole tournament, but then again, that's why it's so exciting. It all comes down to this and we know we can do it.
Question: What has your first season been like?
Bell: It's been really fun. It's gone way faster than I thought I would, and I've just been kind of thrown into it. I'm just taking everything as it comes.
Question: What has that transition been like for you, both on and off the field?
Bell: School has been way different because we only have a couple assessments and that's how we get our grades. I knew hockey would take up time, but I didn't realize how much it actually would. But it has helped to have study hall and the dining hall so close to the locker room and where we train.
Question: You have traveled all over the world for field hockey. Where are some of the places you have played?
Bell: I lived in Australia for two years, so I played at a club in Sydney. I played in Ohio, and I played in Denver, Colorado.
Question: Which was your favorite?
Bell: Sydney. It was so much fun because we played year-round. We had games every single weekend and practices a couple days a week. I played all of these different teams with all my friends, so you just got a taste of everything.
Question: How did you happen to live in Australia for two years?
Bell: My parents own a cosmetic company, and they have a business down there so we decided to give it a go. We had lived in Shaker Heights for 13 years. We just decided spur of the moment to go, and we did, and it was really fun for two years.
Question: After finishing high school in Ohio, what made you decide to come to UVa?
Bell: I love the team, and I really wanted to go some place warm. I love the school, and the coaches are awesome. I just felt the whole team was so supportive, and everyone hung out. It wasn't just like a team that played a sport together, it was like friends who played the same sport and hung out all the time. I really liked that.
Question: Do you have a major yet?
Bell: I'm looking at maybe art, studio art, or art history, but we'll see. I still have to take my first two years of classes and see how that goes.
Question: What has been your favorite class so far?
Bell: I really like my art history class and sociology of the family.
Question: Outside of field hockey and school, what do you like to do for fun?
Bell: I like to just sit around, watch movies. Since I'm doing so much work and so much hockey, it's nice to relax.
Question: Have you seen any good movies lately?
Bell: I just watched Paranormal Activity, and that was really good. It was really scary, but it was really good. I want to see the second one that just came out.