Cougar of the Week: Tali Fish

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Image source: www.clarkathletics.com

When senior field hockey captain Tali Fish’s father was a student at Clark, he decided to start a weekly feature in the sports section of The Scarlet called Cougar of the Week. Several years later, it is only fitting that his daughter receives this honor for her recent flurry of goals. In the past five games, Tali has scored eight goals and contributed three assists to the team.

Scarlet: Saturday’s game against Mt. Holyoke notwithstanding, the team is on quite a roll as of late. Your record is 7-5, which is on par with your usual successful seasons. What would you attribute to the overall success you’ve had so far?

Tali: I think this year is a lot different than other years. We have a huge freshman class and there’s also just a really good attitude on the team. Everyone gets along really well and we’re playing more as a team than ever. So I think that’s the main thing.

Scarlet: What do you think your role as a captain is in determining that team chemistry?

Tali: Really just making sure that everyone’s getting along, that everyone’s comfortable, especially in practice. And also that no one’s scared to try new things on the field and everyone is supportive of each other, which I think is proving to be true so far.

Scarlet: I noticed that you play forward as well as midfielder. Therefore, you need to attack at times but also be able to get other people involved. How do you find that balance between being a forward and a midfielder?

Tali: This year, I’m mainly the forward so it’s more offensive, but because of my speed, my coach likes me to go back and forth between forward and midfielder and help out where I can.

Scarlet: I noticed that when the team was desperate for a goal against Mt. Holyoke, you kind of just charged up the field and scored. I suppose that’s a situation where you knew you had to be aggressive and take control. What was going through your mind when you took off on that play?

Tali: Um, I can’t really say (laughs). It’s kind of just, doing my best to get the ball in the circle.

Scarlet: So it’s more instinctual.

Tali: Yeah, I think it is.

Scarlet: Did you play both positions before you came to Clark?

Tali: I never played midfield before I came here.

Scarlet: So they moved you to midfielder out of necessity?

Tali: Yeah, I thought I wouldn’t like it because it’s more running, but in the end I did like it because one of the things I’m good at is taking it down the field. As a midfielder, I can start from the defensive circle and take it all the way down to the offensive circle because that’s my job. So yeah, it’s fun.

Scarlet: Do you think about being able to set up people more now that you’re a captain? I know you try to be a midfield and set other people up, do you try to put more emphasis on that and make sure everyone’s involved?

Tali: Yeah, definitely. I want to create situations where everyone anticipates the ball coming to them. I’ve also grown as a person and a player, and I realize that no one’s going to get it done by themselves, so you have to be a team player. Against Mt. Holyoke, I feel like a lot of people tried to do things themselves instead of passing and playing as a team like we usually do. I think that was one of our downfalls.

Scarlet: I noticed, while looking through the box scores, that almost all the goals are assisted, It’s clear that you can create openings with your speed and then find open teammates or shoot on goal.

Tali: Yeah, that’s what I’ll try to do.

Scarlet: I’m guessing it helps your ability to set people up as a midfielder because so many people have emerged and started scoring goals. How do they make your job easier as a midfielder?

Tali: You just have to trust everyone. I think everyone on the team trusts each other and trust that if they set the ball up, then somebody else will capitalize, and that’s been happening. Like I said, scoring isn’t placed on the shoulders of one person.

Scarlet: Do you feel yourself giving more trust to teammates this year than in previous years?

Tali: I think that this year, I’m in more of a position to set people up than before. And everyone is stepping up, so it’s made it a lot easier.

Scarlet: I’ve noticed that while the team has had much success overall, it has struggled in the NEWMAC conference. I know that you have a lot of inner conference games coming up. What are you focusing on doing for these upcoming games?

Tali: The rest of our games except for one are conference games, so the past three that we had weren’t games that we necessarily had to win, but it’s crucial that we win some of the upcoming inner-conference games. Every game is competitive in the NEWMAC, but I think as long as we continue to play as a team and pass as a team, we’ll do fine.