April 23, 2014
Freshman Allison Silber discusses the mentality it takes to be a goalie and how she's improved along with the defensive unit this season, as well as her academic success in her first year at Michigan.
On how she decided to be a goalie ... "When I first played lacrosse I think I was five -- in Maryland it's just one of those sports that you pick up as a kid like soccer. My parents sent me to a clinic to try out the sport and once I started I got hooked on it and decided to continue playing. At that age, usually nobody volunteers to play goalie so they just pick a random person. When I got picked, it was a different position and I liked the challenge. I was up for it and had a tough mentality from growing up with my brother. I decided that that's the position I wanted to play so I continued to volunteer to play it and fell in love with it."
On why being a goalie suits her well ... "I can take a hit and I think that's from growing up with a brother. I wasn't scared of getting a ball whipped at me -- I actually liked the bruises because then I could say 'this bruise is from this person or that person.' Being a goalie is about helping your team but not being the focus. With attackers, it's all about scoring goals and you're doing that to help your team win, but as a goalie it's kind of behind the curtain kind of work, and that suited me more. I love helping my team."
On the mentality it takes to be a goalie ... "Being a goalie is very mental. My skills have obviously gotten better from seeing faster shots and I adjusted to that, but my biggest challenge has been the metal side. I had to work through things and keep my confidence up even though I got scored on 20 times. I wasn't used to seeing that many shots in high school and having to deal with that, but throughout the season, I've gotten used to the amount of shots and how fast they came. I think I've definitely gotten mentally tougher and stronger and had to not let 10 goals going in rattle me and focus on the next shot."
On the valuable experience gained by starting every game as a freshman ... "I'm very privileged to have the opportunity to play every game. I know that's going to help me in the next three years because now I have so much experience. I know that when I come back next year, playing a team like Northwestern and seeing a lot of shots is not going to phase me because I've already experienced that. I've seen everything that a team can throw at me. It's definitely boosted my confidence and I'm not really nervous anymore when I step on the field."
On the improvements the defensive unit has made this year ... "I think the biggest thing with the defense is that we've learned how to play team defense, and not just focus on one girl, but feel the flow of the defense. I think coming into college, not that many people understand that defense is a flow, and you have to understand how everyone is connected, including me. We're learning how to communicate to each other so the whole unit can work together. Personally, I've definitely gotten better at handling pressure. I've seen a lot of times when the other team will send an attacker to defend me, and at the beginning of the season that really rattled me, but it doesn't really phase me now and I feel a lot more comfortable in the situation. I've also adjusted to the speed of the shots and my hands have gotten faster. Mentally, I've gotten a lot stronger at being able to deal with a loss or 20 goals being scored on us -- I just keep fighting."
On the improvement in communication among the defense ... "There is definitely improvement in our communication because we understand what communication does and the importance of it. There are times when we don't communicate and we see how detrimental that can be. Overall, we've improved so much and we're not afraid to tell someone what to do on defense because we know that we're telling them to strengthen the unit and limit the other team's opportunities."
On the goals for the regular-season finale against Fresno State ... "We want to come out strong against Fresno State and not dig a hole and have to come back. We want to come out when that first draw goes up in the air and go full force. The biggest thing for us this year was trying to figure out our identity as a team. We're definitely getting a lot closer to letting that show and hopefully that comes out right away in the Fresno State game and they know who we are and what we stand for. I can't believe that "Year One" is almost over. It's kind of sad because it feels like yesterday we were in the fall and getting new things thrown at us. It's been a year of firsts -- our first win, our first overtime, our first last game. I'll be sad when the season ends, but I'm excited to see what next year brings because I know we'll be a lot more confident. It will be a huge change with us having to teach the younger players, but I think we're all very excited about that."
On how she adjusted to being a collegiate student-athlete ... "I think I've gotten a lot better at time management. Coming from McDonogh High School, it really prepared me well for the academics. The amount of homework I do and how hard the tests are, I'm kind of used to. Academics here are challenging, but they're not really any harder than what I've experienced. The biggest change was balancing lacrosse and school because things were not as demanding in high school. I've learned how to use the small amount of time I have to get a lot of work done, so I'm very efficient when I do school work. I also learned to prioritize and stay in to do work on Saturday nights."
On majoring in movement science ... "I'm majoring in movement science in the School of Kinesiology. That can put me on a lot of graduate paths and I'm not quite such which one I want to do -- I'm leaning toward physical therapy, physician's assistant or nurse practitioner. I wanted to be in movement science because of all the opportunities it's going to give me, as well as the type of learning it offers. I'm not just majoring in biology, so I'm interested in everything I'm learning about. I'm learning about making workout plans, and how working out effects your body. That hits home with me and it's very fun to learn, and because it's fun I enjoying learning about it and I get a lot out of it."
On attending the Academic Awards Banquet with her teammates ... "I'm very proud of how many girls from our team were at the academic banquet -- I think we had 12 of our teammates. I know coach Ulehla was really proud of how well we did. It was great because it reminds us that there is more to lacrosse and that academics are a big part of why we're here at Michigan. The fact that we all did so well in our freshman year gave us the confidence to keep working hard and pushing through. It proved that it's possible to excel in athletics and academics at Michigan."
• Previous Spotlight: Jess Angerman