Sept. 25, 2013
Senior/junior Sammy Gray has started all eight games for the Wolverines this season and, after playing in the U-M backfield over her first three seasons, has grown her role into splitting time between the back and midfield. Michigan has averaged just 1.5 goals allowed over its last four games but gave up just one in its only home weekend this season.
In preparation for another home slate as well as the Big Ten Conference opener, Gray took some time before practice to discuss the Wolverines' readiness for league play, her excitement to play in her home state this weekend and the adjustment to her new position.
|Sammy Gray |
Q: What is your evaluation of the most recent road trip?
A: I think it was a good weekend for us. On Friday, we started out pretty strong. William & Mary scored first, but we answered with three goals pretty quickly. It set us up in a good position in the second half for when they made their push; we were able to hold them off. Sunday, we lost to Maryland 2-0, which wasn't the outcome we hoped for, but we had the same number of shots and difference in the game was they executed their corners, and we didn't. But it's good to know that we can play with one of the top programs in the country, and we're just inches away from being there.
Q: The purpose of playing a tough early schedule is to prepare the team for the Big Ten season. Now that the Big Ten season is upon us, do you feel like the team is properly prepared?
A: I think we are. We learned something from every game, and with each game, we've tried to build on something that we knew we needed to work on. Most of the teams we've played so far are very good teams. That's only going to help us when we reach our Big Ten games.
Q: The Big Ten has been an elite field hockey conference, and it seems to only get tougher. Do you expect to face a strong challenge every week?
A: It's definitely a challenge every week. It's not just the top 2-3 teams in the Big Ten that you have to watch out for; any of the six other teams could beat you on a given day. That's why playing tough teams, like North Carolina and Maryland, early in the year is so helpful.
Q: We will be right in your back yard when we play at Northwestern this weekend. Are you expecting family and friends?
A: I'm very excited for this weekend, because not only is it our Big Ten opener, but I'm just from one town over, and my mom has already told me that we'll get a big crowd of Michigan supporters at the game. We always get good crowds wherever we go. All of our parents are very supportive. It definitely helps us when we hear people encouraging us from the stands.
Q: You have been called upon to play in the midfield this year. Has that been challenging, and do you feel like you're adjusting?
A: I'd like to think that I'm adjusting. I was a midfielder in high school, and I moved to the back when I came here. I still spend part of the game in the backfield, but starting in the midfield has been new for me. My teammates have been so great in front of and behind me, just telling me where to go, supporting me and helping me adjust to that new role.
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