Sep 4, 2013
Sophomore Lauren Thomas helped propel Michigan to victory over Maine last Sunday (Sept. 1), taking advantage of a penalty-corner opportunity to net the deciding goal at the game's 55:58 mark. The game-winner was Thomas' third in her collegiate career. She scored five goals last season, including four in the final eight games, and she largely anchored the Wolverine backfield en route to All-Big Ten second team and NFHCA All-Midwest Region second team accolades as a freshman.
Back in Ann Arbor after the season-opening weekend on the road, Thomas sat down after practice to discuss the Wolverines' performance, her confidence as a returning player and Michigan's backfield.
Q: How much more comfortable and confident are you coming back as a sophomore, now with a year of experience under your belt?
A: I'd say I'm a lot more confident. English hockey and American hockey is very different. Even though it's the same sport, tactically and in different aspects of the game, it's quite different. It's really nice that I've been able to have a year to settle in, learn the ways of the American game and get used to the game. I want to take on a leading role for the back this year. I want to really put my experience into play and help the freshmen experience what I did so that their confidence may grow through the season.
Q: Do you think our defensive play will be a team strength this season?
A: I think we've got a strong back unit, and we have a lot of players to choose from. It's good that we all have to fight for our positions. It makes it more competitive and means we all fight a lot harder in training and make everything more crisp and focused.
Q: What's your evaluation of Michigan's opening weekend?
A: I think it's a learning curve for us. I think we've got a really good team this year, and we have a lot of potential as a team. Losing to UMass was frustrating. We didn't play our hockey, which was disappointing. But it's also good to experience that this early. We can learn from it, take it back to our training and really develop as a team. We showed that against Maine. Things didn't go our way in the first half, but we really stepped up together as a team, everyone took on a leading role and we got the result from it.
Q: Do you think the trip to Maine was also beneficial off the field? You had a long weekend to come together as a team.
A: It was really nice opportunity for us to bond as a team. I think we've all got a lot of good memories that we can draw on and take back to the pitch. Even though it wasn't all training on the field, we did a lot of team bonding and character building. It's nice to get the team together, bring the young players up with the seniors and really bond and mix together as a whole group.
Q: This week is a short week for the team, and you'll be facing some tough competition this weekend. What would you like to see the team accomplish this week?
A: I think this week is going to be a really good training week for us. We've only have three days of training, but it's going to be hard training and really crisp and focused. That's really good for us. Looking ahead to this weekend, we do have good, strong competition to play against, and I think we have to use that for development of our team. We need to really work hard and take what we've done in training this week into the games. If we play our game, then it's anyone's game.
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