Jan. 30, 2012
BERKELEY - With the start of the 2012 Cal lacrosse season on the horizon, CalBears.com caught up with Megan Takacs last week to ask the junior about various topics including preseason, the new coaching staff and the New York Giants. Takacs earned All-MPSF First-Team honors in 2011 after leading Cal in points (48) and goals (16) and scoring 32 goals last year.
CalBears.com: How's practice going?
Megan Takacs: It's going well. This is our second week of school, and it's going really well. Everyone came back in good shape. We had the run test right off the bat and that went super well. We just started lifting today, and we got sticks in our hands late last week. Everyone's getting the hang of it. We're already looking really clean. Everyone's super excited to get back out there on the field, so it's a good atmosphere at practice.
CalBears.com: What's it like working with a brand new coaching staff?
MT: We loved our coaching staff last year, and this year we have three brand new coaches from different places. They stepped in and really right off the bat and have done an amazing job. With everything that happened last year, it was a really tough job to come into. It really has been an adjustment period for them. They've done an unbelievable job and provide great balance. Allison is more of the attacking coach, Emma's more the midfield coach and Ginger the defensive coach. They bring real positive energy every day in practice and they make us want to work hard for them as players.
CalBears.com: What can you say about Ginger Miles' coaching style?
MT: Ginger is positive, uplifting and motivated. She's so motivated for us to do well this season. It just makes me want to work hard every day in practice. I think that's the most important thing for a coach. She's done a fantastic job, and she's only going to excel from here. She's going to do a great job.
CalBears.com: What do you think of the new facilities, including the team's very own locker room, at the Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance?
MT: That's a breath-taking experience. The other day I went in there - I was showing my dad around - and he put things in perspective. He said, "Meg, every day you walk in here you have to take a deep breath, step back and take this experience in," because I'm a junior and I only have a year and a half left here. Today when we were lifting, I was thinking, This is really an amazing facility. Not many athletes in the U.S. can say they train in a High Performance Center like ours.
The locker room is cool. We're starting to bring things in, like today there's a mirror in there. We're making it more colorful. It's cool. We kind of feel like a professional team using that locker room and the new equipment in there. It's cool. It's a good feeling.
CalBears.com: Do you enjoy playing at Witter Rugby Field, as the team will do for a second straight season this spring? And how do you feel about playing in a renovated Memorial Stadium next season?
MT: We were talking about that the other day. My freshman year we played at Memorial Stadium, which I loved because I had never set foot on a big football field like that before, and it was a great experience. Sophomore year came around, and we played at Witter. I loved the intimate feeling of being closed in and having green all around us, and the fans were right with us. I get a brand new field next year as well. I get three fields to play on in the course of four years, and it's going to be back on the big field. It's going to be brand new, so it'll be a brand new experience. When I'm out there playing, it's all the same; it's great. But overall I do like that feeling at Witter, that smaller feeling. I can't complain either way.
CalBears.com: Despite a lot of changes off the field, you lost only two starters - Allie Shropshire and Chapin Jackson - to graduation from last year's team, which produced Cal's first winning season (9-8) since 2005. What do you expect from your team in 2012?
MT: Despite everything that happened last year with our program getting cut and losing some recruits, the freshmen this year are unbelievable. They've been working so hard, whether or not they were recruited here initially or not. We lost two key players, two awesome girls. We lost Shrop, but we have Megan McGinnis and Kelly McCarthy, who are going to be fighting for the starting position as goalie. And we lost Chapin, a midfielder. But we have a ton of fresh legs among the freshmen who are stepping up big; Michaela Bird, Gaby Christman, they are just two of the freshmen who are going to help us out in midfield. I think this is going to be a big year for us. I can't tell you how excited I am. I think we're going to be a great team.
CalBears.com: The MPSF Preseason Coaches' Poll ranked Cal fourth. Any reaction?
MT: I think that will pump us up even more. Fourth? It doesn't matter if we're No. 1 or the last seed in our conference. We just need to have a mentality that we have to stay focused and not even look at numbers or the rankings. Obviously conference play is a huge part of our season, and we've focused a lot on keeping that goal in mind to win our conference. It might light us up a little bit, knowing we are No. 4, but I think that will just make us stronger. We may surprise some teams.
CalBears.com: What kind of career do you want to pursue?
MT: I'm majoring in American studies, and my concentration is business and marketing. I know it's broad to say marketing and business, but more specifically I'd like to work in the sports industry, maybe in sports marketing at the professional level.
CalBears.com: Why did your family move from Ohio to the Bay Area?
MT: My mom still lives in Ohio. My dad is out here in Woodside, so right near the Stanford-Palo Alto area. He and my step-mom moved out here for work. In the recruiting process I was considering a few schools in the Midwest, one southern school and Cal. I weighed my options and in the end I chose Cal because of, obviously, academics and athletics. I loved the whole atmosphere of being a Cal Bear; it's a great family-oriented school. And knowing that my dad would be across the bay was really comforting, too.
CalBears.com: What's the most-played song on your iPod?
MT: Probably "White Blank Page" by Mumford & Sons. I was at their concert at the Oracle Arena during dead week, and I've been obsessing over that band ever since.
CalBears.com: What was the last movie you saw?
MT: "Fight Club." There's something about that movie. I could just watch it over and over.
CalBears.com: Do you have a favorite TV show?
MT: I'm a sucker for "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette.
CalBears.com: You and several teammates went to the NFC Championship Game between the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants on Jan. 22 in San Francisco. Did you enjoy the game?
MT: That was an amazing, amazing experience being at that game and being in a crowd of Niners' fans with my blue Giants' gear on. I was fortunate to go on the field after the game and go in the locker room, and I actually hugged Eli Manning and coach Coughlin. I got to give them high fives and hugs. That was a really, really memorable experience for me. My dad's best friend is Frank Mara, one of the owners of the Giants. He was able to get us down there.