Oct. 23, 2013
After earning sparing playing time as a rookie and earlier this season, sophomore Caroline Chromik has quickly grown into one of the Wolverines' top defenders. As a sweeper, she serves as the last line of defense in front of fifth-year senior goalkeeper Haley Jones and had a big impact on Michigan's three shutout victories this season. The Wolverines' have held eight opponents without a second-half goal in 2013, most recently at Ohio State last Sunday (Oct. 20), when U-M dominated play late to claim the overtime victory.
Q: You got some experience last season as a freshman, but you've really stepped up this year, starting the last 11 games at defense. Was that a gradual process to get to that point?
A: I actually feel like it all happened pretty fast. I wasn't getting a ton of playing time early in the season then all of a sudden I was. I think a lot of it has to do with confidence for me. As soon as I was put into that position, I knew I could do it and believed in myself. It all just flowed. The team provides a lot of support. There's a lot of positivity. I know every single one of my teammates is behind me and wants me to do well. I think that makes it a little easier.
Q: Had you played defense before coming to Michigan?
A: I hadn't even had a taste of defense before I got here. I was a midfielder my whole life and more of an attacking midfielder at that. Last year, coaches told me coming in that they saw more as a defender. I didn't mind; I was happy playing anywhere I could get on the field. It was an adjustment, but I'm used to it now and feel pretty comfortable playing either midfield of defense.
Q: Do you like playing sweeper? You're the last line of defense before the goalie.
A: I think sweeper is a really important role, so if the coaches put me there, they must believe in me. That's even more of a confidence booster. They trust me back there, and I trust myself too. I think if you would have asked me at the beginning of the season, I might have been a little iffy about the position, but I feel really good about it now.
Q: Are you looking forward to this upcoming trip to California?
A: This is a big weekend for us. Stanford is a ranked team, and we're looking forward to playing them. We have a good team. We have had wins and losses this season, but I'm hoping we got all the losses out of our system. I think we've learned from each one, and it has made us better. I'm excited for the whole weekend -- just to get out there to California.
Q: That overtime win at Ohio State with Rachael [Mack] scoring the game-winner and breaking the school record was a great moment. As her teammates, is that something that you were all able to share with her?
A: That was her moment, but it was all of ours too. It was amazing -- both beating Ohio State and Rachael getting that record. I'm so happy for her. She works so hard. As she worked toward that record, we were all behind her 100 percent. So, it was just an amazing moment for all of us.
Previous Spotlight: Leslie Smith