Cavalier Corner

October 2013

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Page 36 of 53

That's why Madison is relying on Buckley. Her natural tendency is to take over a game, but like a good point guard in basketball she can distribute the ball to get others involved. "She'll find you, but you have to be ready because she can get the ball to you from anywhere on the field. She has a big stick," Madison said. "She'll look first to make it work, but she has that mode to just take over herself, and that's where her strengths lie, but she doesn't really like to do that." Buckley played in the defensive backfield last season to ease the pounding on an injured knee, but is transitioning back to offense this year to provide some additional firepower. She said that her big focus over the summer was to protect her knee and improve fitness. "I've never been one to hold back during a game, so I never really notice my knee, but after a game I notice how sore it is," she said. "It doesn't hold me back as much as it probably should. But I'm ready for a full season and looking to go full speed. I've got a lot of great teammates, and Coach Madison is really good about helping me manage the knee, and the trainers do a lot of work so everyone helps me out a lot." As part of her fitness program, Buckley said she spent a lot of time on the rowing machine to limit the amount of running she needed to do and played field hockey back home in Australia to get back in the offensive groove. Even from her defensive position last season at sweeper, Buckley still produced offense, ending the season as UVa's second-leading scorer with 41 points. Buckley is back on the offensive side of things this season at striker, and Madison said the biggest challenge right now is slowing her star down a little. "Coach has been really big on my composure in the circle. I like to wind up and just let it go and it doesn't really go into the goal," Buckley quipped. "In competition she's pretty serious. She has to work on being very composed because she wants to do everything for the team," Madison said. "She'll get in that mode where she wants to carry the team on her back, and she knows that doesn't always work because you carry a lot of pressure as well. She needs to stay with the team, the game plan and the team structure and her opportunity will come." In the first seven games of the season, that wisdom proved prophetic. Buckley had plenty of opportunities to help her team off to its strong start. She led the team in both goals (nine) and points (22). She was named the first ACC Player of the Week Sept. 3 after scoring a pair of game-winning goals in UVa's victories over Louisville and No. 6 Penn State the previous week. "Our team will be extremely successful if everyone stays within their own game, and so if Elly stays within her own game that will be the best contribution she can make to the team," Madison said. "We have a lot of young players, and we need Elly to keep them level-headed, grounded and stay in the moment, and enjoy what they're doing." Enjoying what she's doing is the easy part for Buckley and the rest of the fourth-year class, so the nine incoming first-year teammates should have strong role models. "We're pretty much all best friends off the field, and we're with each other 24/7 and it's awesome," she said. "When we get done with practice we all go back to the house and just hang out. The camaraderie helps a lot building our team, and we have a lot of fun on the field as well. And if we have a discussion on the field it never comes off and becomes an issue." After graduation, Buckley plans on returning to her native Australia to help others have fun, working with her brother and sister at their event staffing company, Perth Bar Staff. Buckley's fairly positive that she'll get the job. "I hope I have a job since my sister's doing the hiring," she joked. ◆

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