by Matthew Ondesko, Managing Editor Photos: Medialle College Athletics
Taylor Hollock has been all over the place recently. You may have seen her on twitter and Instagram, after all she did go viral. If you haven’t see her on social media you definitely have seen her on the soccer field.
Hollock made history earlier this season she scored the first girl at Medialle’s new stadium in downtown Buffalo. The sophomore from Tonawanda has been a big part of the rebuild that second year coach Angela Nicholas-Tolsma has been doing.
Angela Nicholas-Tolsma knows Hollock well as she coached her while at Tonawanda High School. As a freshman last year, Hollock was thrown right into the fire - starting all 16 games. That experience, however, is something that Hollock couldn’t pass up.
Most freshman don’t see the field during their year. In fact, most freshmen will redshirt so they can get used to the college game. But, the coaching staff had confidence in Hollock, and she didn’t disappoint.
While her goal total (1) wasn’t there, Hollock was happy with how she competed on the college level. Dominating at Tonawanda High School is one thing, Hollock wanted to prove that she could handle the rigors of a collegiate soccer schedule.
“It was a big step coming up to the college level and I’m very grateful to be playing for Medaille and with all my teammates,” stated Hollock over the summer. “The competition is much greater and the speed of the game is much faster.”
There were many first for the talented sophomore over her first couple of seasons. There was the first goal in Medialle’s new stadium earlier this month. And, last season, Hollock scored her first collegiate goal.
The excitement was just what you expected from someone who scored their first goal of their collegiate career. While that was the only one she tallied all season long, Hollock was happy to get the first one out of the way, and use it for a building block heading into her sophomore season.
“It was a great feeling, celebrating my first goal with all my teammates and all the hard work I put into games and practices to get to that very moment,” stated Hollock. “Focus on the positives and keep working hard.”
The dreaded sophomore slump is something athletes hear about all the time. How to avoid the sophomore slump becomes more of a mental thing than physical. Hollock has heard about it all summer long.
She was determined not to regress during her sophomore season. She wanted to build off what she did during her freshman year. The confidence she gained during her first season has lead to a nice start this year.
“With a hard work ethic and my drive to succeed. I know my motivation will avoid the sophomore slump,” stated Hollock. “I try not to overthink the game and I rely on my experience to let my instincts take over.”
Like most college athletes, Hollock has been trying to find that balance between athlete and still being a college student. It’s not easy finding time for everything that you want to do. Student-athletes are asked to do a lot between practices, games, school work and so on.
Trying to find the right balance is difficult, but something that needs to be. Hollock knows for her game to excel she needs to find that balance.
“It’s a balance, I like to keep in practice in the off-season and have valuable down time with friends and family” stated Hollock from the beach when Sports Union did the interview. “Ironically, I’m currently on vacation at the beach and I’ve been watching the games. Seeing the success of the women's USA soccer team inspires me to work harder and to achieve success.”
That success of Team USA was something Hollock and the rest of the young ladies who play soccer were glued to. It allowed them to dream that maybe one day they would put on the colors of the national team and represent on the highest stage.
It also gave the goals to shoot for. Most players try to emulate their favorite players. They want to be like Ronaldo or Messi. Those are the players they look up to. Hollock just wants to play her game. She wants to be known for her style and her type of play.
“I would say I have my own style, but I use the knowledge I’ve gained from many different coaches over the years and apply it to the best of my ability,” stated Hollock. “I’m looking forward to working with our new recruits and returning players to build a successful program.”