Athlete of the Week: Olivia Hayden
When I asked Olivia if she had any personal goals to achieve her senior year, first thing that came to mind was her team.
"I'm really looking forward to just this new team that we have,” said Hayden. “We've been trying to improve every day and I think we've been doing that. I'm really looking forward to see what we can do together because so far, I'm pretty impressed."
So impressed that Olivia and the rest of the Mavericks will head into the RMAC Tournament this year. The senior has earned the RMAC Lacrosse Summit Award, multiple RMAC Player of the Week honors and holds the CMU record with most draw controls.
"Just goes to show how much of a full field, midfielder she really is,” said head coach Shanta Loecker. “I think what's most impressive about Liv is that stuff is never a surprise because she does that at practice every day. Part of why she has such crazy numbers this year, she's so consistent. She's doing that every day in practice. Game day comes around, that's just her norm."
Her norm has the co-captain ranked top five in the country for caused turnovers, draw controls and ground balls. Olivia credits her tip-top performance to her teammates.
"That's really just an indication of how well our defense is playing,” Hayden said. “The fact that we can even get it on the ground and then allow for me to pick it up is really the only implication of why that is."
It's clear that Olivia is selfless and puts her team first. The Denver native carries that attribute off the field as well.
"As a senior class, we made it our goal this year, not to win the RMAC,” said Hayden. “Our goal was to better the community and better our team and leave that as our legacy."
And coach couldn't be more proud.
"Getting to coach a group of people that actually care about each other,” said Loecker. “The fact that they're going to go out and graduate and make an impact on the people around them. Are they going to change the world? In some way, yeah. That part has been way more impactful than the actual wins."
Olivia had one piece of advice to give herself as a freshman.
"Don't hold back your freshman year. You're a little scared; you're a little timid but go for it because it's so much more fun when you do."
Olivia has received the Academic Player of the Year award earning a 4.0 GPA in cellular biology. She has no permanent plans just yet but is considering medical or graduate school. With compassion and a drive like that, she may in fact just change the world.
"The amount that I have learned just from the four teams that we've had over the years and the friendships I've made, They've impacted my life whether they know it or not,” Hayden said. “I'm just grateful for the opportunity to have been able to play here."