March 24, 2014
Senior defender Maddy Fabiani has had a long and fulfilling lacrosse career, though it hasn't been without its ups and downs.
"I first started playing lacrosse when I was in fourth grade, so at a pretty young age," Fabiani recalled. "Fourth-grade lacrosse is pretty entertaining. It's a lot of running around and no one really has the ball. It is pretty sloppy because nobody really knows how to cradle. We definitely improved as we got older."
Part of a young Fabiani's maturation in lacrosse began at UVa while she was growing up in McLean, Va.
"I grew up coming to camp here, starting when I was in sixth grade, and I always just loved it," Fabiani said. "I remember I was initially scared of [associate head coach] Colleen [Shearer], but I eventually realized she is actually the funniest person ever. I thought [head coach] Julie [Myers] was the nicest person ever."
Fabiani, after playing high school and high-level club lacrosse, came back to UVa camp while she was in high school where, in addition to catching the eye of the coaching staff, she also got to meet and play with many people who would eventually become her fellow Cavaliers, a group of individuals she truly loves.
"I think we have a really great group of girls, especially this year, and I love the relationships that I have been able to develop with different people. These are some of my best friends and I just love having that team aspect all the time and knowing that everyone always has each other's backs."
As a defender, Fabiani knows how important the bond with her teammates is, especially on the field.
"Defense isn't an individual thing at all, but all about working as a unit," Fabiani explained. "You constantly have to be sliding and covering each other's backs, so when you have that chemistry on defense, you can really have good defense. [Assistant coach Jessy Morgan] has been really good about creating that unit for us and making sure that we have those rotations down. I think that is what we focus on the most because that is what makes a good team defense. The fact that we are also a very aggressive defense with a good group of true athletes and we all have pretty good speed also makes us very dangerous to other teams."
There is one other element to the defense's success: being loud. This is where Fabiani is making the biggest impact these days. Though Fabiani has been sidelined this season with an injury, she still is trying to help her squad from that sideline.
"I'm just trying to be as supportive as possible. I am definitely cheering my head off on the sideline," Fabiani said. "One of the things we focus on is aggressiveness and being really loud, so I try to help with that. It is obviously very tough being out for the past year, but I love my team and I love supporting the team. I will do anything I can in practice. If that means throwing balls, or setting up a drill, or just answering questions for younger kids who might not understand a drill, I just try to be as helpful and involved as possible even if I can't be playing on the field."
Fabiani, who missed part of last season with an injury, seemed to be at full-strength and headed back to the field when she suffered another devastating blow during an early practice in January. However, the day after she suffered what would be a season-ending injury, the history major received some fairly uplifting life news.
"I was offered a job at Google," Fabiani said. "I am going to be moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in July to work. I'm working on global customer service for their Ad Words clients, the ads on the top and sides of the Google search pages. This job with Google is a great opportunity and I am very excited."
In the meantime, Fabiani still has work to do on the sideline, helping guide her defense, and sometimes even her offense, to the post season.
"I would like to thank my coaches as they have always been so supportive and kept me included even though I haven't been able to be on the field for awhile," Fabiani said. "[Athletic trainer] Blair [Putnam Moore] has been my biggest support system, so thanks to her as well. And my teammates of course. Thank you all."