Feb. 12, 2013
With the start of the 2013 Cal lacrosse season in just nine days, Sarah Milik
, one of the Golden Bears' team captains, took some time to chat with CalBears.com about her thoughts on the upcoming campaign. The senior defender shared her thoughts on the team's mindset and goals among other topics.
The season opener is set for Thursday, Feb. 21, at James Madison, while the home opener will take place on Tuesday, March 5, at 4 p.m. vs. Saint Mary's at Memorial Stadium.
CalBears.com: What is the team's mindset heading into the 2013 season?
Sarah Milik: The team mentality that we have right now is very inspiring. Everyone came back from winter break in shape, ready to work and eager to implement the concepts that we learned this fall. The team is confident and ready to start games.
CB: How does it feel to return to Memorial Stadium for your home games?
SM: It feels great. I feel so honored to be able to play in Memorial Stadium at Cal. The field and facilities that we have are unbelievable. I'm excited for California Lacrosse to become part of the great history of this stadium.
CB: How did it feel to be named one of team captains?
SM: This team is full of inspiring, intelligent, well-rounded and hardworking women. To be named captain of such an incredible group of people was a true honor. I love this team and I was really grateful to know that my teammates would choose me as a leader.
CB: What are your personal goals for this season?
SM: My personal goal for the season is to improve every day at practice and make sure that I have fun. I want to put hard work into practice so that the games are fun for the team. I want to look back on this season with no regrets.
CB: You're the only senior defender on the roster. Does that add any pressure for you to be a leader?
SM: When phrased this way, it would seem as if I am under a lot of pressure to lead the defense alone. However, this is not the case. I think we have a really solid defense that is full of leaders. Grace Parente sees the field better than anyone on our team. She takes the lead in defensive huddles a lot and lets the team know what we need to work on. Megan McGinnis is also very vocal and provides us with helpful insight from a goalie's point of view. I am confident in all of our defenders' ability to lead.
CB: How much has the team changed from last season to now?
SM: Aside from personnel changes due to graduation, the team has made a lot of mental changes in order to create a new team culture. We decided in the beginning of the year that we were going to be more disciplined and more courageous on and off the field. I have seen so many great changes this year. We definitely have more depth and more people contributing this year. It's exciting to know that we have so many players that can make an impact on the field.
CB: You've definitely been through a lot of transitional periods during your time here between venue changes and head coaching changes. How much have those changes made the team stronger and how much have they helped you grow as a student-athlete?
SM: Overcoming adversity together always makes teams stronger. Such changes have made our team stronger because we have learned to be adaptable, to be positive and to appreciate every opportunity afforded to us. Though we lost some players to these changes, the most committed individuals remained. I am grateful to have gone through drastic changes in my time here. It has made me realize how lucky I am to have had the opportunity to play for Cal.
CB: What are your postgraduate goals?
SM: My postgraduate goals are not yet set in stone. I am exploring many different career fields and searching for jobs on both the East and West Coasts. I look forward to starting a new chapter of my life. I think Berkeley and my experience as a student-athlete here has prepared me for the future.
CB: What are you going to miss the most about Cal and what's been your favorite memory here?
SM: I am going to miss stepping out onto the field every day for practice with my friends. Sports have been an integral part of my life for so many years. I am definitely going to miss the competition. I also think I will miss the campus. Berkeley is such a stimulating environment and I will miss being surrounded by brilliant minds every day.
CB: If you were going to give a piece of advice to the 2014 incoming freshmen who recently signed letters of intent to come to Cal, what would it be?
SM: I would tell them to experience as many things as humanly possible. Berkeley has so much to offer. I would encourage them to try new things and to step outside of their comfort zone. Athletically, I would say to always remember why you play lacrosse. It's fun to be around your friends every day, to be competitive and to work hard to achieve your goals. Being a student-athlete tests you mentally and physically every day. I think it's important to recognize what an honor it is to be a student-athlete at Cal.