Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 35
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
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STAYING HOME: May-Ying Medalia providing defensive support last fall for the Princeton University field hockey team. Former Princeton High standout Medalia is currently in preseason practice for her senior season with the Tigers which will get underway when Princeton plays at Bucknell on September 2.

Former PHS Star Medalia Enjoying Home Front, Primed for Senior Season with PU Field Hockey

Bill Alden

Although May-Ying Medalia grew up just miles away from Princeton University, it took her a while to feel at home when she started there as a freshman in the fall of 2008.

“It was interesting living on this side of the street, so to speak,” said Medalia, a former field hockey star for Princeton High.

“I had to learn how things worked academically and athletically. There is a large athletic community but there is a real emphasis on athletics. The first semester is a struggle for everybody; it is a grind right away.”

Medalia faced a struggle in field hockey as she tried to fit in with her accomplished teammates.

“We had two girls in our class who were already involved with the U.S. national program,” said Medalia.

“Field hockey was everything to those girls; I was playing at a higher level than I had in high school, even playing with my club team.”

Playing along the Tiger backline, Medalia did lift the level of her play as she hit the field for two games that fall.

“It was exciting to get into games; I was never expecting to get in with all the good players that we had. I got some shots off; it was fun.”

Medalia’s chance of becoming a more valuable contributor for Princeton took a shot in the spring of her freshman year when she suffered a serious leg injury.

“I was playing well in my freshman spring,” recalled Medalia. “I tore my ACL in the last game which I was playing for the High-Performance club team.”

The knee injury sidelined Medalia for her sophomore season and still hampered her last fall as a junior even as she got into 12 games and made two starts.

“It was definitely a setback, I had my brace off but I was not as strong on the ball as I was before,” acknowledged Medalia.

“I did get into games but I was still working on my confidence. I was not back to where I was at the end of my freshman year.”

As Medalia starts preseason for her final campaign with the Tigers, she is brimming with confidence.

“My knee is 100 percent,” asserted Medalia, a sociology major who studied at the London School of Economics this summer.

“We have a lot of senior leadership; we are looking forward to seeing what we can do as we take on the challenge.”

Medalia and her classmates will face a stiff challenge this fall as they will be without the services of a quartet of stars, Kathleen Sharkey, Michelle Cesan and the Reinprecht sisters, Julia and Katie, who are training with the U.S. national team as they look to go to the 2012 Summer Olympics.

“It is a really big test,” said Medalia, referring to the absence of the four standouts who were the team’s top four scorers as the Tigers went 14-5 on the way to their sixth straight Ivy League title and a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals.

“We came in with such a good class; we have some talent that hasn’t been talked about much. We are definitely excited to be taking a leading role. We have a lot of good freshmen and we want to step up and set a good example.”

Medalia knows there are some doubters around the Ivy League. “The league will think that we aren’t up to that challenge,” said Medalia. “A lot of people will think that we can’t hold our own without those four star players.”

In order to continue its dominance of the Ivy League, Princeton will need to think about the present on a daily basis.

“For us, the biggest thing is to be in the moment and take every game for itself,” maintained Medalia.

“The team motto is ‘better than yesterday.’ We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves. The team is ready to prove itself.”

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