Wolverine Athlete Spotlight: Kelly Kubach
Kelly Kubach

March 13, 2014

Freshman Kelly Kubach discusses the improvements the team made against Northwestern, the mental aspect of being part of Team One and the honor of being a member of the Leadership Council.

On what the team improved upon against Northwestern compared to at Florida ... "Some of the improvements we made -- two things we've been trying to focus on more than anything -- are effort and passion. We know that we're not as experienced as everyone and we aren't always going to be the best on the field so we have to control the controlabels, and those are working hard all the time and playing with our hearts. There was a huge difference against Northwestern -- we came out and didn't care who we were playing; we were on the field for each other and to play to get better."

On the mentality of facing three straight ranked opponents ... "Florida was a huge wake up call for us -- we all kind of went in timid and we put ourselves down. Right now our biggest enemy is ourselves and our own minds tell us that we're not good enough. We really learned a lot at Florida. We saw how good they were, but we also saw that we can keep up athletically with these teams and the only thing that's holding us back is experience. here's nothing to be afraid of and we can only get better from these experiences. We proved that we got better at that against Northwestern, a top ranked team. We put out all of our effort and really played well together because we didn't care who we were playing. Hopefully that remains the same at Johns Hopkins."

On believing as a team that they can compete at this level ... "Mentally, we just need to become more consistent. Some days we have really good days and some days we have really bad days. As long as we keep encouraging each other and staying on the right page, I think we can overcome a lot, but it's these mental lapses that are going to get us. We just have to be positive and keep working hard. Once we tell ourselves that we're not good enough or the other team is better than us, that's when we lose it."

On getting many first out of the way ... "It's crazy to think that we're about to be six games into the season. At first, there was a bundle of emotions of being nervous about trying to almost prove something. We were so worried about what our impression was going to be that we weren't in the moment. Now that many of those 'firsts' are out of the way and we've played these top teams, we can just be in the moment and play hard and not have to worry about these pressures. There are always going to be pressures with our age, playing against these experienced teams, but now it's getting easier and more fun to play with each other."

On being a member of the Leadership Council ... "Being recognized as a leader on the team was a really good feeling. The whole Leadership Council had the same mentality that everyone on the team is on the same level, so to hear that I was respected by my teammates and that they voted for me for the Leadership Council really gave me confidence. I think it was really special that all five of us had the opportunity to be voted onto the Leadership Council as freshman, and the fact that our peers respect us is really neat. We're still working on stepping up and being leaders because it's hard when we're all the same age. Sometimes it's hard to give our teammates direction when we still need direction, too, but that's where the Leadership Council has to lean on each other. We've been getting better and it's great to have so many leaders on this team because no one can lead this team alone."

On the best part of being a member of Team One ... "We talk a lot about wearing that block M, and every time coach says that to us, it gives me chills and reminds me why I chose to come here. I think it's really special to be a part of something that's new and to build a new tradition, and to do it at Michigan, I think that's something that I'll never get over and something I'm really passionate about. I think the most special part about being a member of Team One is learning how to wear the Block M properly. Sometimes you lose sight of where you are and why you're here with everything going on, so to be reminded that we're representing Michigan and how unique our opportunity is, gets people going and makes them remember why we chose Michigan and how much we have to give to Michigan."

• Previous Spotlight: Lauren Oberlander