Shijing Wang | Staff PhotographerField Hockey
Preseason training tones Holloway into leader of Syracuse defense
Iona Holloway’s rigorous preseason training cost her more than sweat and time.
“Blew out a lot of shoes,” said Syracuse head coach Ange Bradley with a smile.
After a heartbreaking loss in the NCAA tournament cut last season short, the senior back chose to stay in Syracuse for the summer, rather than return home to Scotland. Disappointed in her personal performance, Holloway challenged herself physically throughout the offseason and her hard work has paid off thus far.
The senior is the unquestioned leader of a defense that has shut out two of the nation’s top offenses in North Carolina and Princeton.
“I felt that throughout my season, my performance was quite inconsistent,” Holloway said. “I dipped in and out of form. I didn’t want that to be the case this year. I wanted to really focus on my fitness as well as my game.”
In a sense, Holloway can attribute her success this season to a birthday present she bought for herself during the summer: a Beachbody Insanity workout DVD — a 60-day program that she followed every day.
Her teammates see the results.
“She would do the workouts and do extra,” said midfielder Liz McInerney. “And I think she changed her diet. She looks great.”
Even with the rigorous exercise Holloway was putting herself through, she found satisfaction in her ability to transform herself into a better athlete.
Holloway recognizes the physical changes she has undergone from last season. She said her footwork and speed have improved, even though she considered herself relatively fast before last summer.
Aside from putting her birthday present to good use, Holloway said she spent more time during the offseason on the field working on her skills than she had in previous years.
Even if she was only on the pitch for 10 or 15 minutes, Holloway knew each rep she practiced of hitting, sweeping or any other skill would benefit her during the season.
“That gives you more of a comfort level when you come back and you believe you can do it in a game,” she said.
Holloway’s training may have cost her a few pairs of shoes, but it also has her at the top of her game. And the Orange will need her to maintain her performance if the team hopes to play late into November.
With that goal in mind for her final season, Holloway pushed herself to become a different player in the middle of SU’s defense in 2012.
“I just tried to do everything that I could to make sure that we’re as successful as possible,” Holloway said.
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