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6 October 2010

Senior defends on field, scores in classroom

Senior defender Brittany MacDonald plays during the FSU game September 26. Chelsea Matiash//The Miami Hurricane

If you’re not at a Miami Hurricane soccer game, the next most likely setting to find senior defender Brittney Macdonald is either the stacks at the Richter Library or the Starbucks right across from it.

That’s because outside the Cobb Stadium soccer field, she spends most of her time either studying or sipping coffee to get her caffeine dosage to stay awake and alert in order to study some more.

When you combine her hectic soccer practice and travel schedule with a 3.84 GPA as a biology major, and then account for the fact that she works with the doctors on the medical campus to gain experience, you don’t get much time left over for sleep.

“You learn what your priorities are,” said Macdonald about her time management. “And if you really want to pursue both of them, you’ll make time to work it out.”

Tricia Taliaferro, now in her ninth season as head women’s soccer coach, has not failed to recognize her dedication to both academics and athletics.

“She’s so mature in the way she handles her workload,” Taliaferro said. “Every time I see her, if it’s on travel or anytime it’s her break, she’s studying to fill that space.”

As a player, Macdonald, who sports the number 14 jersey, has anchored the team’s stout defense since her freshman year. In 2007, she led the team with, ironically enough, 2,007 minutes played.

“Her leadership role actually started her sophomore year when the team voted her as  captain,” Taliaferro said. “She leads by example, does all the extra work, and anytime there’s a younger player that needs help, she gives her guidance.”

Macdonald, however, is not satisfied. She says this year, as a senior, she wants to take a more active role on the offensive end and has set a personal mission of scoring three goals on the year, which would double her career total. She currently has two and ACC play is just underway.

Taliaferro acknowledges Macdonald’s abilities with the ball in the air and said she’ll try to set her up on some crosses. Macdonald already scored her first goal of the season on a header earlier this month against Kent State at the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament.

“As a team, we definitely want to make it into the NCAA Tournament and make it through the second round,” said Macdonald on her expectations for this season. “And also finish top five in the ACC.”

Macdonald and the Canes battle Duke Thursday at Cobb Stadium. The game is at 7:30 p.m.

David Furones may be contacted at dfurones@themiamihurricane.com.