WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MEMORY AT USC?
Winning [the NCAA championship] my freshman year and my junior year were by far my favorite memories here at USC, just because it’s not an opportunity many people get to have. [I’m] super proud to be a part of this program and [to] have experienced that with the girls here.
DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS FROM YOUR TIME AT USC?
The only thing I wish I could go back and change is my sophomore season, when we fell short. We lost in the semifinals to Stanford and ended up not winning the title that year. That’s the only thing that haunts my past: not winning NCAAs my sophomore year.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I want to fight for a spot on the Olympic team. It’s going to be a tough go. I want to make the top two … I would love to be the No. 1 goalie on the No. 1 team in the world and make the Olympics.
WHAT’S ONE THING ABOUT PLAYING GOALIE THAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW?
Being in the cage for me, what’s so difficult is [that] some field players, they can get by without being a part of the real mistake. But any goal that goes by, I have to live with the rest of my life. It’s a punch to the heart every time one goes by that I don’t think people in a different position can really fully fathom. For me, that’s the thing I have a hard time living with [as] a goalie — it’s an everyday thing.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO PLAY FOR THE U.S. NATIONAL TEAM?
It’s so cool — just everything that I dreamed of since I started playing water polo, as well as playing for [the] program here … moving on to after the season with the national team, I’m just excited to fight for the chance to play at the Olympic level and hopefully win a gold medal. It’s exciting and unbelievable to play with girls at a high level.
WHAT HAVE YOU HAD TO SACRIFICE IN ORDER TO BE A STUDENT-ATHLETE?
It’s a lot. And it’s all worth it, for sure. I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of friendships from my past, from high school. Quite frankly, it’s hard to stay in contact and connect as often. I’ve had to give up a lot of family time. I’m not allowed to ride ATVs and motorcycles and all that fun stuff I used to do when I was a child, so I don’t get to do a lot of family vacations like that anymore. Just family time, period. My family’s not that far. But that’s a huge thing … people from across the country, from across the world that play here, they get to see their families even less. But I live 50 miles from my family in Moorpark, Calif., and I don’t get to spend as much as time with them as I wish I could. So from high school to now and especially with [the] national team, just sacrificing those relationships — it’s been difficult.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FRESHMEN ATHLETES?
When I came here, I had to fight for playing time with a girl, [Victória Chamorro], that was just about to go to the Olympics that following summer and who came in the year before me as a freshman and started. I absolutely love Vic, and we had a great relationship. But that’s tough to come in and fight for a spot, especially if it’s already taken. But what I can say and speak to is that regardless of whether you’re a freshman or older, you need to come in and have some grit and play hard to earn your playing time. You need to fight for it. You can’t look down on yourself and use ‘I’m young’ as an excuse. Other people might say it. You have to be willing to be young and be that starter, that starting goalie, whatever it may be. You have to want that for yourself. And if you really pour [on] the coals … and put in the extra effort and stay after practice and fix all the things coaches tell you, they recognize that. And that’s a huge, huge thing for your teammates to see as well when you’re a freshman.