Cavalier Corner

October 2015

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BY GREG WATERS L IKE A LOT OF Charlottesville kids, field hockey player Taylor Brown grew up with an affinity for the University of Virginia. "UVa is where every kid wanted to go," she said. "It's a great school academically and athletically, and it's everyone's dream at a young age." In 2012, Brown realized her dream and enrolled at Virginia. Four years later, nearing the end of her athletic and academic career, Brown reflects on her time on Grounds. "It's pretty surreal," she said "Coming to UVa was an unbelievable opportunity, and it wasn't an opportunity that I could turn down. The past three years have been amazing. Playing for the team and [Coach] Michelle Madison has been a great experience. The academics have been challenging but rewarding, and although it's cliché, it's been everything I wanted." One aspect of her time at UVa that Brown would certainly change is the pain and discomfort in her back that plagued her during her first three field hockey seasons. As a striker, Brown's primary role is to create and convert scoring opportunities within Madi- son's up-tempo offense. Teams of strikers rotate in and out of the game to maximize UVa's speed and quick passing attack. Strikers are forward sprint- ers running vertically and horizontally creating depth and width on the attack. They are the first line of defense and their ability to "reverse press" (putting defenders under pressure) is a critical component of the game. It is also one of the most physically demanding roles on the field. "It took a while to actually diagnose the prob- lem," said Brown, when asked about her injury. "It started off as a sore back. I had an MRI in the preseason, and we found I have a bulging disc. It's not herniated, but it does show that my back was out of alignment. "That caused my hips to go out of alignment, and weakened the muscles in my hips and back. One side of my body was weak, and the other was tight." Brown had successful surgery and says now the key is making sure she remains symmetric through her stretches, strength exercises and icing if needed. AN UNBELIEVABLE OPPORTUNITY Field Hockey Fourth-Year Taylor Brown Is Making The Most Of Her Time At UVa, On And Off The Field

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