RICHMOND, Va. – Awards are piling up for Redshirt freshman Sky Hyatt as she continues to get recognized for her nine-goal performance in the VCU women's lacrosse 21-13 win over Campbell on Sunday. Yesterday, Hyatt was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Week and today was named the Virginia Lottery Student-Athlete of the Week.
Hyatt was ecstatic upon hearing the news from head coach Jen O'Brien on Monday, "She was just as excited as we were, if not more. She told us how she was so proud and happy for us, but we kind of played it off like it was nothing." Despite the reaction to her coach, the midfielder admitted that she wasn't able to contain her excitement upon hearing the news, "It's just a feeling that I'm not sure I could capture again. It was so euphoric. I couldn't believe it. I'm just happy that I was able to do this for VCU, not just myself, but also my coaches, because if anything, they deserve it more than we do."
Hyatt has a strong relationship with her coaches and credits the staff to her development as a student-athlete and a person, "My coaching staff is so amazing, I wouldn't change anything about them. When people ask me what my favorite thing about VCU is, I say my coaches. I could not imagine playing at any school without them. I wouldn't want to play for any other school or group of coaches. They work so well with one another and they shine off of each other. They are all so strong in their areas on the field."
The midfielder acknowledged that the award meant more, because teammate Molly Barcikowski was also named A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week, "Molly is such a strong player. I love having her by my side. I'm so happy for her and hope that her career continues to grow and flourish as much as it has."
The two Maryland natives grew up playing against each other as rivals. Now, as teammates at VCU, the two are able to bond, "Molly and I live like five minutes away from each other. We went to rival school and grew up playing against each other our whole lives. It's cool to finally be on the same team. At first it was a little weird for us to be playing with each other, but now it's just, 'alright, you're my teammate, it's cool'. It allows us to bond and play well together. Coach Jen just sparks the fire between us. It's great playing with Molly."
With her nine scores on Sunday, Hyatt leads Barcikowski for the team lead by one. When asked if she had been teasing her teammate about this she replied, "I actually didn't know that, but now I will."
Hyatt was also not aware that she had scored a program-record nine goals until after the game stating, "When I play I don't keep track of how many goals I score. I didn't know I had nine, I thought I had four and everyone was saying, 'you almost got double digits!' So that definitely was not on my mind, I just wanted to keep pounding."
The team is ranked among the top 10 in the nation in assists. Along with her nine goals, Hyatt added an assist in Sunday's win, "Honestly, I care about assists more. They prove more to our team, especially since we specialize in them. I would rather have nine assists than nine goals any day. Some days I'm not going to have any goals, but I don't care about that. I think we all do really well and everyday it is a different player who is assisting or scoring. That is really a testament to our team."
The young season has been a rollercoaster for this group. After defeating Gardner-Webb in the program's first game to open the season, the Rams dropped three straight, before rebounding on Sunday. Hyatt did not pull any punches, bluntly reflecting on the season, "So far we've had our ups and our downs. It was cool to come out strong against Gardner-Webb and play to our potential. After that, we kind of took a step back for three games. I definitely think we played as freshman. When we faced Campbell, we were sick of losing. We came out on the field and we knew what we had to do to win. Now things are looking up. It was frustrating at first, it was hard, but I feel like we're at a good place right now."
Thinking back to Sunday's came against the Camels, Hyatt was happy to have the performance she did, but was more proud with how her teammates played around her, "Campbell was a great team win overall. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. My teammates were giving me amazing feeds. I got to the foul line a couple of times and my shots were just happening to fall."
Not only was the midfielder happy to pick up the team's second win on Sunday, but she was also excited to play in front of the home crowd again, "It feels so awesome, our fans our great. After every goal that was scored, they were going wild. It felt good. I really take pride in playing at Cary Street Field. Being at home, I want to do great things for VCU. It was tough after three straight losses. I knew something had to happen, I'm glad we were able to have that win at home."
Following Sunday's win, the team hosted a group of girls for a post-game clinic. Hyatt and her teammates love being able to give back and share their experience with a younger generation, "We really try to stress lacrosse awareness in Virginia, because it is really not that profound in Richmond. I love doing post game clinics like that, those little girls look up to us so much, it's so much fun. I take pride in it. It's a good way for us to take our minds off of the game. I think that sometimes as players and coaches we zoom in and focus on game day. Helping others afterwards, help turn the attention away from just us."
Best Story From the Road… "My roommate, Chloe Mujwit, didn't bring her skirt on the first road game at UMBC. She was in tears, saying, 'I didn't pack my skirt', blaming the equipment staff, 'why didn't they put my skirt in my bag?' I looked at her and said, 'Chloe are you serious? You should have checked for your skirt, this is all your fault.' Coach Decker had brought extras, knowing we would leave some behind, because we are such a forgetful team. It was so funny though. We all just sat and watches her freak out in the hotel by herself. We were teasing her, 'you can't play tomorrow, you can't play tomorrow.' Meanwhile coach had packed like eight extra skirts."
Teammate That Spends the Most Time In Front of a Mirror… "Chloe. Chloe cares about what she looks like so much, definitely her."
Being a Ravens Fan… "I'm excited to see how things go in the draft, we need something new this year, we had a tough season. We need to come back out on top. It was great (winning the Super Bowl) in 2012. I have the sticker on my car."
Favorite TV Show… "Sons of Anarchy. My roommate and I cannot stop watching it. I want to be in it. We want to start a VCU women's lacrosse biker gang," she jokes. "We could roll up to practice on like electric mopeds."
Favorite Home cooked Meal… "Steak", she pauses picturing the meal in her head, "with blue cheese crumbles. My parents made it every Sunday. We tried to make it at home, but I burned it. I'm not a very good cook."
Pre-game Superstitions… "I do now. Before the Campbell game I ate a burger for breakfast. So now my mom says I should eat a burger for breakfast before every game. Mike (the trainer) might not like that, but if it works, it works. I'm going to stick with that, but I usually like to wear the same socks, same headband, sports bra, everything."
Favorite Book Growing Up… "I didn't really read a whole lot. I got really into the Twilight series. I love vampires. I never read the Harry Potter series and I got into The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but other than that, I stayed away from books."
Relaxing Off of the Field… "I love to go to the James River. Either take a jog to clear my mind or walk across the train tracks. I really like connecting with nature. I feel like it's great at taking my mind off of schoolwork, the lacrosse field and myself. It's great to lay on the rocks, jog or get in the water. That's my favorite part of Richmond.
Athlete You Look Up To… "I would say that I look up to Taylor Cummings (Maryland midfielder considered to be the best female collegiate lacrosse player). I just think that it is amazing everything that she has done in her career and the fact that she strives every game not to let anybody down. She's from my area. She's not much older than me, but I have looked up to and followed her ever since I was little. I knew that she was going to be a superstar one day, so I would definitely say that she is my favorite athlete, person to watch."
Favorite Quote… "Some dream of success while others wake up and work for it. I don't know if that is the exact phrase, but I think that something is going to come from hard work."
Best Advice You've Gotten… "The coaches here really stress positivity and that has changed me as a person and a player. Freshman year I was not the most positive person. I would get down on myself and my teammates when I was frustrated. They always tell us to think happy thoughts. At the end of the day, these are your teammates. Not everyone get this opportunity to play at a DI program. You're not injured, you have a lot to be grateful for. Just go out, play and work hard. That is probably the best advice that I've ever gotten, because it just gives you something to smile about everyday and be grateful for."
The Name Sky… "I was supposed to be a boy, so my parents wanted to name be Skyler. Then I came out a perfectly good girl and they changed it to Skylind. I don't know where the 'lin' came from or the 'd' at the end. I hated it growing up. I got so much crap my whole life. I just hated my name. People would call me Skyland. I still get that, even here. In fourth grade I asked my mom to legally change my name to Brittney. I love my name now it's cool."
Person That Inspires You Most… "Coach Jen. Being around her, the atmosphere and energy she brings to every situation whether she is intense or smiling and giggling, it's infectious. You just have to smile when she's around. You want to be around her more. All that coach asks of us is to put our trust in her and that is what I was able to do. She is just an amazing person and I try to just learn from her and be more like her everyday."
Favorite Spectator Moment… "Last year, the coaches took us to the UVA versus Loyola game. It went to overtime and was such an intense game. We all kept creeping towards the sideline. We just wanted to get there on the field. Having that feeling where we could not wait to play with one another and seeing how happy these girls were together, it was one of my favorite moments."
Song You Have to Hear on Game Days… "Jimmy Choo (by Fetty Wap). It is the dumbest song, but I love it. It gets our whole team going, we bond over that song."
On Kanye West… "I just have to let Kanye be Kanye and not even comment about because I will get too worked up."
If You Could Have Any Superpower… "Oh! Breathing underwater. Everyone says flying and I'm stupid for underwater breathing, but I'm obsessed with water and mermaids. It would be so cool. There is so much stuff underwater that we never see and I want to see it. I would breath underwater and just disappear in the ocean for years. I'm being serious. Why wouldn't you want to breath underwater. When I was little I would just swim and swim for hours then pass out, my mom loved it. I would spend hours in the ocean. When I was little, my mom lost me at the beach. I was miles down in the current and a lifeguard had to pull me out, but I want to be a fish so bad, so it's fine. Finding Nemo all the way, I cannot wait for the second one to come out. If I could be a marine creature, I would be a mermaid. Then you could come out of water when you wanted to and I feel like no one messes with mermaids either. I watch documentaries on mermaids and think they are real. There are theories about how people evolved not from monkeys, but mermaids and I believe it. My dream destination is Atlantis."
Favorite Vacation Spot… "The Cayman Islands. It was the only time I've been out of the country. I did not see any mermaids, but I caught a sea horse. It died. I wanted to take it home. It was so cute. Best day ever until it died."