FH : Holloway adapts to American style of play, becomes leader for SU

first_img Published on October 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Jacob: [email protected] Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Following a freshman season filled with fitness struggles, Iona Holloway spent her Winter Break training to compete for a starting spot. Her hard work paid off.When she took a fitness test with the rest of her Syracuse teammates, her 2K run dropped nearly a minute from her previous best.‘It was a big confidence booster,’ Holloway said. ‘I knew that I had that aspect of my game under control, so I could focus on really fighting for a position.’Now in her junior year, Holloway is an integral part of the Orange’s success this season. The back has been a key part of the SU defense, helping it to its No. 6 ranking. And for her performances in wins over Louisville and Boston University in September, Holloway was named the Big East and Eastern College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week.But when Holloway first joined the team, she had to adjust to the athleticism in the American game. Head coach Ange Bradley and teammates said Holloway’s work ethic and willingness to learn quickly made her a valuable asset.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHolloway began playing field hockey in her native Scotland at age 8. She said an early start in the sport has played an integral role in her success. In Scotland, coaches put extra emphasis on learning the fundamental skills like hitting, sweeping and pushing at an early age. The young players also learn the sport exclusively on field turf rather than grass, which gives them a chance to practice the more intricate skills from early on, she said.Holloway played field hockey for her high school, Kelvinside Academy, the Scottish U16 and U18 international teams and the Scottish Hockey League before coming to Syracuse.She had to learn a different style of play in the United States.‘It’s a lot slower, the tempo of the game in Scotland, it’s not nearly as athletic as it is here,’ Holloway said. ‘But there’s probably a bit more of individual flair and a bit more emphasis on players using their elimination skills than there is here in America.’Bradley said Holloway’s fitness was lacking in her initial months on the team. The two met in December of Holloway’s freshman year to discuss a change. After the meeting, Bradley said Holloway went out of her comfort zone and embraced a change in fitness training, both physically and mentally.The change led to her vast improvement in fitness testing, and now Holloway is a team leader because of her work ethic, Bradley said.‘Iona gets out of her comfort zone, and she really encourages other players to get out of their comfort zone, too,’ Bradley said. ‘We encourage people that need help with their training to train with Iona.’Bradley said she feels that Holloway has improved greatly at Syracuse. That sentiment is shared by senior midfielder Martina Loncarica, who has noticed how far she has come.‘It was a big transformation,’ Loncarica said. ‘She came in with a lot of passion and desire, and her first year she didn’t start, but she worked so hard, and now she’s in the starting lineup and contributes a lot to our play.’Holloway said she was initially surprised when she found out she was named Big East and ECAC Defensive Player of the Week. As a defender, she doesn’t usually get much attention. But Holloway doesn’t get caught up in individual achievements.‘Individual honors are cool, but at the end of the day, they’re very minor in the grand scheme of things,’ she said. ‘We’re much more interested in the team’s success.’Holloway said she is focused on contributing to the Orange’s success as it looks to retain the Big East Championship crown. And Bradley knows Holloway will be crucial to the team’s late-season push to achieve that goal.‘I’m glad she’s on our team and not somebody else’s,’ Bradley said. ‘Because I’d hate to have to play against her.’[email protected]last_img

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