Women’s Field Hockey Profile: Andrea Lo, Part I

Posted by: Avinash on Friday, May 16th, 2008

California, Michigan

Andrea Lo is one of Cal’s returning seniors on the women’s field hockey team. Originally from Vancouver, her attacking skills in high school helped bring her to the Golden Bears, where she has taken on a strong facilitating role at midfield. She also has a blog she updates during the season (and sometimes off of it), and you can go to Cal Athletics to track her in action!

I sat down with Andrea to talk about her transition to Cal, her training regimen, field hockey strategy, and other relevant issues.

(Note: This is a long interview, but we really enjoyed talking to each other, so why cut it off? The first part will run this Friday, Part II next Friday will deal with the nuts and bolts of field hockey, and Part III about personal experiences the Friday after.)

My part of the conversation is in italics, Andrea’s is in bold.

BN: How did you first get interested in field hockey? And when did you get serious about it?

Andrea: When I was in 4th grade one of my friend’s parents decided to coach a team, and just asked my friends and me if we wanted to try the sport out. None of us had heard of field hockey, so we just thought it would be cool to play.

During high school I started playing on regional teams and elite teams…so that’s when I began playing in high level competitions.

I think most of our audience isn’t familiar about field hockey–how hard was it for you to learn and develop into the rules of the game?

It did take some time for me to adjust simply because I had been playing ice hockey since I was young. I think playing ice hockey helped as well, because it’s the same concept of hitting a ball into a net.

Are there any other fundamental differences between the two sports, other than the playing surface and the physical contact?

They’re entirely different sports. Field hockey is more like soccer in terms of number of players on the field…positions (forwards, mids, defense). The sticks are very different. The skills are very different. People think that just because they’re both “hockey” that they’re similar.

Yeah, I think that’s a common misnomer among the public–my dad played field hockey in India and in his college years, so I kind of get the differences.

Oh cool! Did you ever play?

I played a little pickup when I travelled there, and proceeded to stink up the joint.

Haha, that’s awesome.

When did you start realizing, “Hey, I could be good at this”?

I guess even when I was younger…friends and parents would always say I was “really good” and that I was natural at sports…maybe when I started playing in the higher levels and I was recognized…but I really never thought about these things..I just played and had fun.

When my high school coaches contacted Cal (they knew the coaches there) ..then I thought that I could go further with hockey.

Did you ever have any moments of self-doubt, and how did you overcome them?

I didn’t think I wanted to play hockey after high school.

What made you think that you didn’t want to play?

I wasn’t sure if I would be committed enough for four intense years of playing at a college level, especially coming to the US.

It took me a long time to decide and finally commit to come down. I really had to think hard about it…and I thought…I might as well give it a try because having the opportunity to come to Berkeley and get an education here would be amazing.

What was it like moving from Vancouver to Berkeley? I’m sure there must have been a little culture shock going on.

Actually, not much. It’s just that Berkeley is a much crazier place—there’s lots of diversity and all sorts of interesting people. But I mean there’s not that much difference. A lot of people think Canada in general is pretty foreign and I think that’s really funny because it’s not.

Especially on the West Coast–Vancouver is just a lot more smaller; down here you have SF and big cities.

Did you plan to just stay in Canada before you got the offer from Cal?

Yeah, probably go to UBC or something. But it’s a totally different atmosphere from Cal…and I love being here at Cal for that.

When I go visit my friends at home, it’s pretty boring, I’m not gonna lie.

Haha, gotten the taste of city life?

BIG city life. Haha, I’m a city girl.

And it’s just fun being away from your home town–you see the same things, same people—and it’s nice to be in California, that’s for sure! I love saying that I go to school in Cali. People are always like niiiice!

And of course the sun–Vancouver is like rain city for most of the year, so I always go back waay more tan than everyone else, which I love.

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