As the Liberty field hockey team makes final preparations before it heads to Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., to face defending national champion Syracuse on Saturday, LibertyFlames.com continues its field hockey focus series with senior defender Serena Barr.
Serena and her twin sister, Bethany, were both preseason All-BIG EAST team selections, while Serena was a unanimous selection and also named the BIG EAST Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year.
Serena, who has started 63 of 64 games in her Liberty field hockey career, currently ranks first in program history in career assists (28), fourth in goals (21), fourth in points (70), third in shots (162) and fifth in game-winning goals (6). She was a member of both Lady Flames teams that won NorPac titles in 2013 and 2014 and reached the NCAA Tournament in both years.
Last year, Barr helped Liberty finish the season with a 12-6 record as an independent and No. 14 ranking in the final NFHCA Division I Coaches Poll. Currently, the Lady Flames are ranked No. 13.
Last week, your sister Bethany talked about your trip to Uganda this summer with your family. What was your role on the trip, and what did you enjoy most about the time spent there? Barr: I spent my time in Uganda heading up the health promotion work with my older sister Rebecca. I completed my internship for my major through this, creating programs, implementing them when we were in Uganda and evaluating them upon our return. We focused mainly on addressing the problem of jiggers which are small sand fleas which burrow into feet. They are a huge problem with children not wearing shoes and then causing children lots of pain and making them miss school. I loved my time in Uganda and learned a lot.
What is it like having your older sister, Natalie, as a graduate assistant coach this year? Barr: Having Natalie as a coach is great. I learn a lot through her coaching and have a huge respect for her. She knows me as a player and how to best encourage and motivate me, expecting more from me as my sister.
What are your thoughts on Liberty being in the BIG EAST Conference now as well as the challenging schedule outside of the conference? Barr: Having a challenging schedule is tough, but it is the only way we will learn. It highlights our problems and where we are weak and need to improve. It is especially important this early on in the season because it allows us to figure things out and improve. Being in the BIG EAST is so exciting. We want to hit our conference games running and make an impression straight away, sending out the message that we mean business. I think our first games will give us the experience we need to be able to do this.
What did you learn from the James Madison and Duke games that you can take into the game against defending national champion Syracuse on Saturday? Barr: We have learned a lot from our games vs. JMU and Duke. We know Saturday will be tough, but we believe that our team is very capable, and if we put our minds to it and play our style of hockey, we can bring it to Syracuse. We are excited to get back on the field again and put into practice all we have seen in video and fix the mistakes we made in our first two games.
What is the most rewarding part of being a part of the Liberty field hockey program? Barr: Being part of the field hockey program has so many pros. I love being part of not only a team of 21 girls but also part of a legacy set by those girls who came before us. Each of the alumni set such a high standard and invested so much into the program that it sets a high precedent for us coming after them. I also love being challenged to make myself better in all aspects of my life because the girls constantly push me and keep me accountable.
What is your favorite place to eat at in Northern Ireland, and what do you typically order from there? Barr: I am well-known to love my food. I love all types of food. My favorite place at home is definitely Nandos. I always go there with family or friends, and we always just get a platter of chicken and sides, and our motto is "stretch or starve"!
What are your plans once you graduate? Barr: I plan to get a master's somewhere in the UK. I want to get a master's in Dietetics and also continue to keep playing hockey as I study.
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