Vol. LXII, No. 35
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
HOME STUDY: May-Ying Nie-Medalia studies the ball in action last fall for the Princeton High field hockey team. Last week, Nie-Medalia headed across town to start preseason training for her freshman season with the Princeton University field hockey team.
May-Ying Nie-Medalia is not afraid to do some globetrotting when it comes to honing her field hockey skills.
Prior to graduating from Princeton High in 2008, Nie-Medalia spent a semester playing for a school in Johannesburg, South Africa and also toured the Netherlands with her Edge club team.
This week, though, Nie-Medalia isnt even leaving her hometown to start the next chapter in the sport as she starts preseason practice with the Princeton University field hockey team.
In choosing Princeton from a list of schools that included Harvard, Boston University, Brown and Cornell, Nie-Medalia initially had misgivings about staying home.
Looking at each school, I could see one or two things that I didnt like, said Nie-Medalia.
With Princeton, the main thing I didnt like was that it was in my hometown. Ive talked to other PHS people there and they say the university is a separate world; it is on the other end of town.
For Nie-Medalia, her relationship with Princeton head coach Kristen Holmes-Winn and her comfort level with her future teammates helped tip the balance in favor of PU.
Ive known Kristen pretty much since I started playing; shes an amazing person, asserted Nie-Medalia.
She knows the game so well and has so much passion for the game; she loves getting out there and playing. I definitely connected with the players; they are really, really cool. They were also very enthusiastic about the game.
Nie-Medalia showed her deep enthusiasm for the game when she spent part of her sophomore year in South Africa.
A South Africa team came here freshman year and played at PHS, recalled Nie-Medalia.
The team hosted them for three or four days and their coaches said that if someday I wanted to come there, I was welcome. In December of sophomore year they told my dad the offer was still open and that they would love to have me. Their hockey season is in the winter which is April-August. It turned out that my credits would transfer so I went ahead.
The African adventure opened Nie-Medalias eyes to her potential in the game.
It was an amazing experience, added Nie-Medalia, who played on the schools U-16 team which went undefeated.
One of their coaches was a South African national coach and I learned so much from her. What was really cool was that we were on the other side of the world and the game was pretty much the same. It was great that I could step out on the field and be able to play with them.
Last year, Nie-Medalia applied those lessons as she toured the Netherlands with her club team.
We played a top premier club and played a lot of club teams, said Nie-Medalia.
The stick speed was at another level; it showed how fast the game can be played. You cant wait and look around before passing the ball; it showed us that we werent as good as we thought we were. It showed us how we could get better.
Over her PHS career, Nie-Medalia passed on some of her experience in emerging as a leader for the Little Tigers.
The PHS girls have so much spirit and they have good skills, said Nie-Medalia, who starred on defense last year as PHS struggled through a losing campaign.
They just need to know the game better; I tried to explain things on the field, you need to step here; you need to step there. It helped me with leadership. I learned a lot about the game and controlling the play.
This fall, Nie-Medalia will be aiming to play more and more for the PU program as the season unfolds.
I will be playing defense; I was one of the few defenders that was recruited, said Nie-Medalia, who played in the U.S. Field Hockey Futures program this summer and had weekly workouts with the Princeton trainer to help prepare her for the jump to the college level.
They have 10 really good and skilled seniors. Ill start seeing more time as the season goes on; Kristen will need us to step up in the future.
And with her experience in the international arena, Nie-Medalia has the skills to take some big steps this fall.
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