Cougar of the Week: Olivia Barksdale

Olivia Barksdale was a lightning rod on offense for Clark Field Hockey this season. She led the team in goals (13) and assists (8) and scored the game-winning goal in the team’s lone NEWMAC win against WPI. Barksdale sat down with The Scarlet to talk about her first college season, learning from upperclassmen, and her favorite TV shows.

Photo taken by Celine Manneville
Photo taken by Celine Manneville

Scarlet: You had a great goal against WPI to put the team up 2-1. Walk me through that game.

Barksdale: It was during the last minutes of the game and I was tired, so I didn’t realize the magnitude of the goal. It was nice that we didn’t have to go into overtime. Previously, we had two double overtime games. Now we were ahead and all we focused on was staying ahead. It wasn’t until the end when everyone was celebrating that we realized how big of a win this was.


Scarlet: What were some of your other favorite moments of this season?

Barksdale: The double overtime at UMass Dartmouth. That was just crazy because they were a good team and we matched them, if not more. We didn’t come up with the win, but it was great playing the extra minutes and knowing I still had more to give after going through thirty extra minutes.


Scarlet: What were the major takeaways for you this season?

Barksdale: Just learning from the seniors and from my teammates. There is a girl on the team named Lauren Mackey (‘17) who I just looked up to, and look to her for guidance, making sure that I’m going to the right places, to the right spots, and just helping the team.


Scarlet: I imagine there was a lot to learn.

Barksdale: Yes, I would just try to learn different moves from different players. Colleen Durkin (‘19) can do a sweet reverse sweep, so I’ve tried to pick that up.


Scarlet: What’s a reverse sweep?

Barksdale: So it’s just using the opposite side of your stick and sweeping it against the ground. If you do it wrong, it’s usually called by the refs because you can’t hit the ball with the round side of the stick, but they never call it if you do it right.


Scarlet: Do you have it down?

Barksdale: Yes…I’m still working on it. It’s not consistent, but I kind of have the workings of it.


Scarlet: What’s the advantage of using a reverse sweep?

Barksdale: You don’t have to get your feet around the ball to hit it, so it’s more convenient.


Scarlet: I talked to some players last season who said that passing was a struggle for the team. Has it improved throughout this season?

Barksdale: I would say so. We’re getting to the spots where we’re supposed to be more, and just need people to be there, and just know where you’re going to go and getting there in time for the pass.


Scarlet: I’m sure just being around the team helped with that too.

Barksdale: And just understanding how other people play, and just knowing they’ll get there at certain times, so that’s when you release the ball and give them a solid pass so that they have an opportunity to score.


Scarlet: What are you planning on doing now that the season is over?

Barksdale: Sleeping, and working out for the next season, but mostly sleeping.


Scarlet: What are you going to do to fill your downtime with, hobbies? TV shows?

Barksdale: Yes. I have a lot to catch up on…Grey’s Anatomy, Once Upon a Time, Grimm, The Flash, Arrow…


Scarlet: Those are good binge-watching shows, I can imagine it was hard to fit them in your schedule during the season.

Barksdale: Yeah, and they’re al on around 7 or 8, which is when we have practice.


Scarlet: What are you studying?

Barksdale: I’m shooting kind of high for the 3-2 program for environmental engineering. But I at least want to study environmental science in the ecology track.


Scarlet: Do you have a specific interest within that track?

Barksdale: Not sure yet. Just know I want to study the environment.


Scarlet: So what will you focus on when training for the next season?

Barksdale: I really just want to top myself and keep improving, and just working on stick skills. I sometimes lose the ball after I worked hard to get it past half field, so just staying down and staying with the ball.


Scarlet: What can the team focus on for next season?

Barksdale: As a team, just not getting down if [the other team] scores first. And just moving from there, and trying to get back and get ahead.


Thanks for the interview, Olivia!