Sophomore Michelle Relin burst onto the scene last year as a freshman for UR, immediately emerging as one of the team’s most potent scoring threats. So far this year, Relin has picked up right where she left off, currently leading the team in goals, points, shots, and game-winning goals.

The Pennsylvania native has not just proved to be one of UR’s best players, but also one of strongest in the entire country. Her 1.30 goals per game average is good enough for 13th among Division III players and is the second highest total for sophomores. As impressive as last year’s trip to the NCAA Elite Eight was, there is no question that Relin is hoping to go even further this year come playoffs.

When did you start playing field hockey?

I started playing in seventh grade.

Why did you decide to come to UR?

I really liked the idea of student first, athlete second. I think UR is a very renowned university that offers much diversity, intelligence, and problem solving. It’s a beautiful campus, and I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.

What has been your favorite memory so far as a ‘Jacket?

My favorite memory is anxiously waiting for the NCAA bracket to be released and seeing our name on it. It was a proud moment that all of our hard work led us to.

What has surprised you most about being a college athlete?

The mentality and respect that each person on the team holds. Everyone is so passionate about the game, each other, and working that much harder to become that much better. I love the work ethic associated with being a college athlete.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

My dad always says to me, “Don’t ever get too high, and don’t ever get too low.” Things happen, some good and some bad, but it’s important to stay level-headed. And only we can control that.

How has the experience of last year’s run deep into the NCAA championships helped you this season?

Last season has definitely set the expectations higher for this year. The mentality is different because we are no longer the underdog, but I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. Our team has gained not only experience from last year, but also a lot of confidence moving forward.

Last year as a freshman you were able to fly under the radar a bit, but now that you are beter known around the game, do you feel more pressure?

The only pressure that I have comes from myself, and it’s hard to not feel any. That said, as soon as the whistle is blown, I forget about it all and just play.

You’ve had some incredible late-game goals this year. Do you have a different mentality when the game is on the line?

It’s not so much a different mentality than it is pure competitiveness. No one wants to lose, but you have to hate losing more than you love winning.

Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?

I used to be really superstitious, but I’m not anymore. If you bring your game, the rest will take care of itself.

Shapiro is a member of the class of 2016.

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