September 14, 2006

10 Questions with Field Hockey's Lizzie Goldblatt

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After juking out junior goalkeeper Lizzie Goldblatt of the field hockey team with a move straight out of Igby Goes Down, Paul Testa is still recovering from one of the worst turf burns of his life.

1. So I hear you’ve got some personal history with the goalie of this Saturday’s opponent, Penn. What’s the deal?

Elizabeth Schlossburg’s her name. She played for the U-20 U.S. national team. She’s an awesome goalie. She is so good. She’s a year ahead of me so I played behind her in high school in Bethesda, Maryland.

And she plays for Penn? Has she seen the sports section of the Daily Pennsylvanian? They only do five questions.

I think some people were surprised when she picked Penn.

It’s like a waste of her talent, right?

In some people’s opinion, but she’s really cool. She’s chill, and she just wanted to play for a school she liked. Very reasonable.

Neat. So it was like Lizzie squared in high school?

She goes by Liz more. Everyone calls her Lizard, and everyone called me Lizard when I was in elementary school. But when I got to ninth grade and Elizabeth was in 10th grade, she just turned to me and said, “You need a new nickname. My nickname is Lizard.”

So Saturday’s game is really a battle for the title of, “Queen of the Lizards?”

Pretty much.
Who’s going to win?

I think she gets Lizard. I need a new nickname.

We can work on that.

2. So the team’s rolling, 3-0 (1-0 Ivy), only giving up one goal so far — what do you think about the Ivy League this year? Where’s the team going to finish?

Every year it’s so hard to predict. You never know what’s going to happen. I feel like every team comes in every year with a chance.

That’s exactly what Julie Greco in Athletic Communications would want you to say. Everybody’s good. Everybody’s got a chance. Bullshit. What’s the real deal?

I don’t know. I may be a little biased.

Last year you girls only lost three Ivy games — Princeton, Brown and then Dartmouth in overtime.

That was so painful.

What’s going to make the difference this year?

It’s probably what you’d expect. Players that were freshmen last year are now sophomores. They’ve been working so hard, and experience really helps. I’m a lot more comfortable now.

3. Tell me about your early years because I feel like the life of a freshman backup goalie …
[Interrupts]
It sucks.

Are you girls like the stunt doubles or crash-test dummies of the field hockey team?

You’re absolutely right. There are some drills where you know you’re getting put in during practice just because they don’t want the starting goalie getting injured.
So you’ve taken some bad shots?

Freshman year was the one that everyone remembers. I still get made fun of to this day. We have to wear, what do they call it?
[Looks downward]
Cups?

Yeah, cups. Sorry. I forgot what they were, but I was too cool freshman year to wear a cup. You know what I mean?

No.
I was like, “Those things look so goofy. I’m not wearing one.”

I wear a cup for every interview.
[Crosses legs]
So they told us, “Wear this cup,” and they assumed I was always wearing it. It was a warm-up for the Providence game my freshman year, and I went down for a corner — goalies always lie down for corners — and I got a shot straight to my crotch.
[Cowers in chair]
Yowch.

I was keeling over in pain. I look up, and the girl who shot it was like, “Oh my God!” and I look to my right and Natalie [Serle ’06], the girl who did this interview last year, is on the ground laughing. She thinks it’s absolutely hilarious. The coaches come over and the trainer comes over and they go, “At least you had your cup on.” And they quickly register that I didn’t have it on — it was a really hard shot.

How hard? How fast are these shots going?

They can go 60-70 miles per hour.

How could you even walk after that?

It hurts. It was so awkward. I was a freshman and I was so embarrassed.

You’re that girl. Was it painful to sit down?

Everything was bad.

I feel like that’s an awkward thing to ice.

Dude, You’re telling me. The trainer came running over and shoved ice down my pants, and the coaches are yelling at me for not wearing a cup like an idiot, and meanwhile, I’m trying not to cry, and Natalie is still laughing. I still get made fun of all the time for it, but I always wear a cup now.

4. So in an average day in the life of Lizzie Goldblatt, do you get a lot of balls flying in your face?
[Shrugs sheepishly]
Yeah.

Does that ever get old? Does it ever lose the excitement, the magic?

They’re all pretty scary when they come at you.

But do you get to know the balls?

To know them? I guess there comes to a certain point in your career. It’s when you want to make that jump from being a mediocre high school player to being a really good potential college player — where your high school coach has to sit down and chuck balls at your head so you learn how to use your helmet as a blocker.

Is head coach Donna Hornibrook winging balls at you all the time?

No, but I’ve had coaches who did that.

5. What’s the deal with all these pads? Seriously, out of any sport with goaltenders, field hockey goalies look like a cross between the Michelin Man and that marshmallow monster at the end of Ghostbusters 2.

I know, I know. The first time I saw a field hockey game I w
as like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I thought it was joke. I wanted to play field hockey. Our high school team was really good, and all the cool girls played field hockey. So I was like, “I’ve got to figure out a way to get on the field hockey team,” and there was no way I was running around.

Sound reasoning.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t want to run so I was like, “All right, I’ll be a goalie.”

Would you bring a chair out onto the field if you could? Just like a folding chair, to break out when the team’s on offense.

I’m at the point now where if I’m bored in the goal, that’s a great sign. If they bore me, and they’re doing their jobs, then I love it.

Like what do you do? Are you singing songs to yourself?

Yeah, a lot of goalies do that.

Really? Wow. So how much do these pads weigh?

They’re really not that heavy at all because they’re all foam and they’re pretty light.

Do they really protect you, or does it still hurt like hell when you get hit?

I think part of it is that you’re so surprised when you actually feel the ball, because you’re wearing so many pads. There are certain parts of your body where it will miss.

Crotch?
[Laughs]
Not if you’re wearing a cup, but right here I don’t think we have padding.
[Points to hip]
Our butts don’t have padding either. A lot of players like to smack me on the ass with the stick.

That’s fantastic.

Our teammates will do it, and we’re like, “We don’t have padding there, stop it!”

Honestly, though, do you really need all those pads?

That’s a fair question.

Let’s say I gave you a first baseman’s mitt. How do you think you’d do? Because I feel like you could’ve caught that one that Lehigh scored.

I’m so used to playing with so many pads right now that I’d refuse to go in without all of them — although that would be sweet to have a glove like that. I played softball so that would help out a lot.

But you’d still keep the pads?

Yeah I guess so —
[Cough]
Sissy

I’m just used to them being there. I don’t know what I’d do with out them. I know they look so goofy. I know I look like an idiot after I run.

How happy are you after games to just strip that off?

Oh God.
Is it like Girls Gone Wild?Would you just like “woosh” [Gestures inappropriately] if I threw you some beads?
[Rolls eyes]

6. [Sniffing] Do you smell that?

What? No!

It’s like Astroturf and urine. Can you smell it?

No! What?!

I just heard from a few unnamed sources on the team, that once in a while, it might not be a bad idea if you washed your pads.

If they want to put on the pads, they’re more than welcome to.

Is it a matter of superstition? Are you worried you’re going to wash the luck out of them along with the smell of wet cat?

No, I’m just lazy. I’m the messiest person ever. But you know what? I hate when my teammates complain about it because I’m like, “If you want put on the gear? You want to take the shots? Be my guest.” Anyone wearing them would smell bad.

Do they call you “Stinky?”

No! Well maybe when I was a freshman.

7. How scary are penalty corners? To me, it seems like the field hockey equivalent of a firing squad on the goal line.

I think it’s way scarier for the field players who are on defense. The same kind of shot that I’m taking with all this equipment on, they’re basically taking without any of that equipment on. They’re terrified to do it. They hate doing that.

What’s the best save you’ve ever made?

Good question.

Gee, thanks.

In college? Let’s see … when I was a freshman we had our spring tournament. I blocked my first stroke, which is like a penalty shot in field hockey. I was way more excited than everyone else.

Can you distract the player when they’re taking a stroke? Can you jump side-to-side like a soccer goalie?

I think I could, but I don’t think it would be to my advantage.

Really?

They’re not looking at me. They don’t care.

What’s your strategy?

I don’t want to reveal any strategy, but I guess sides all the time. They have such a high chance of getting it in because it’s a huge goal and they’re so close. That, and the players that are going to be taking strokes know what they’re doing. I really just guess and hope it goes my way.

Do you get the urge to charge off the line and belly flop on some poor forward?

Totally.

Have you ever done it?

Yeah, but players in college are used to goalies coming out. That’s why they wet the turf. It’s a huge advantage for goalies because they can slide out, and the players can’t really predict where they’re going to stop.

They wet the turf?

Yeah.

Really?

Yeah, it’s a huge advantage. I hate playing on dry turf. I hate it because you don’t move.

I prefer playing on wet turf as well. For different reasons.
[Laughs likes a quail]
Get your mind out of the gutter.

I don’t know what you’re talking about.

8. You must get hit on a lot, at practices, in games. How do you deal with it?

Getting hit on?

Because you’re kind of like, I don’t know, by now, a B-List celebrity at least.
[Accusingly]
You talked to [senior co-captains Sarah] Miller or [Lindsay] Moyer!

I did no such thing!

You talked to them about my Cornell celebrity quest.

But it must be pretty cool playing with the Prettiest Goalie in the NCAAs? I hear this title is a tradition started by Kaitlin Tierney ’04, to combat the bad image given to field hockey goalies by Monica from Friends.

Well, I mean [sophomore] Shannon [Prescott] is very cute. They make her wear the helmet to cover up. Too hot.

But is she the prettiest in the NCAAs? Because there can only be one, and you make a strong case for yourself.

I’d definitely agree with that.

I’ve got a little proposal for you.

A pageant?

Not what I was thinking, but a pageant could work. Singing, dancing, maybe even a special talent.

9. Speaking of which, I hear you have a special talent. Would you like to share it with our readers?
[Suspiciously]
What?

I have a challenge for you. I brought with me, a bunch of grapes…

No. I’m a lady.

Hey, wait! I hear you can fit an insane amount of grapes into your mouth. So I challenge you.

No.

Do you realize how embarrassing it would be if I could beat a girl in this? Do you know how much shit I would take?

I would barf it up.
[Pause]
All right. Fine.

One-for-one?

Yeah, OK. Ooh, good grapes.

Thanks. Ready?
[One, two]
People watching are weirded out. Way to go.
[Three]
Yeah, but they’ll read this.
[Four, five, six]
Slow down!
[Seven]
What do you do once they’re in your mouth?

What do I do?

Do you swallow them or spit them out?
[Eight]
When you’re done with this? You chew them.

I don’t know if I can do that.
[Nine]
I think I’m losing
[10]
I’m going to barf these all up.
[11]
You’re insane! I quit.
[12, 13, 14]
This is embarrassing.
If you can hit 15, we’ll call it a day.
[15]
Well done! That was a straight All-Ivy performance.

Between the pads and the grape-stuffing, I really get the guys.

You’re a talented girl.

You better make me look cool in this.

You make yourself look cool.

If you ruin my potential to be a Cornell celebrity, we’re over Paul.

I think I’m doing you a favor if I do that. Anyway, I didn’t realize we had anything to begin with. I thought this was just a one-time thing. Is there something more?

I mean I have your number now.

Yeah but I still don’t have yours. At least we’re Facebook friends.

10. What’s the hottest men’s team at Cornell?

I have to say the rugby team.
[Shock and awe]
Oohh…

A dark horse, I know.

Are they a varsity sport?

No.

I don’t know if that counts.

But they’re such a good time though.

I’ve got to — shoot, I’m a little loss for words. The rugby team eh? You toss out a club sport? You know what I’m going to say? Fine you can say that’s your hottest, but I need a real sport, a varsity sport. I’ll probably get killed by a bunch of rugby players but you know what? No rugby, DQ’ued from 10Qs.

I swear they’re such a good time.

That’s really sweet. That’s nice. Maybe you can give them a pity date sometime.

I’d be lucky if they gave me a pity date.

Just knock on the door of Fiji. Tell me the hottest male varsity team at Cornell.

It’s tough.

Everyone says that. It’s not that tough.

I’m going to go with swimming.

Swimmer’s body right?

I don’t know why they don’t get more credit. It’s choice.

I guess you have to be pretty confident to wear four square inches of spandex as a uniform.

They seem pretty comfortable in them.

You practically see them naked.

Bottom line, it’s a huge advantage. I don’t know why they’re not mentioned more.

What about the whole hairless thing?

I think it’s supposed to make a difference in your times. I can understand that.

I think it makes a difference in your testosterone levels.

Are you attacking the masculinity of the swim team?
As long as the rugby team doesn’t get on my ass, I can take being tossed in a pool by the swim team.

I don’t know. They’re pretty tough.

What are they going to do? Flutter at me? Hit me with a breastroke?

Paul Testa is a Sun Assistant Sports Editor. 10 Questions will appear every Thursday this year, unless the men’s rugby or swim teams find out Testa’s home address. Comments and suggestions can be sent to pft4@cornell.edu.