Stanford's regular season has concluded and postseason play is on the horizon. The possibility of making a fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in five years is exciting. The reality of senior Becky Dru eventually playing her last game is not.
Arguably the greatest player in school history, Dru's time in a Cardinal uniform is indeed winding down. A 2011 NFHCA First Team All-American, Dru's accolades and gaudy statistics rank her among the program's most dynamic competitors. The 5-10 defender from Buckinghamshire, England, is also a two-time NFHCA All-West Region honoree. Dru easily ranks as the conference's most accomplished performer, earning all three Player of the Year awards (2009 Rookie, 2011 MVP, 2010 and 2011 Defensive) at least once.
Dru's career totals speak for themselves. In 82 games and 81 starts, Stanford's captain has notched 51 goals, 32 assists, 134 points, 293 shots and 14 game-winning goals.
Bottom line: It's no coincidence Dru's four-year career on The Farm has coincided with Stanford's best four-year stretch (61 victories, 3 NCAA Tournaments, 2 NorPac Tournament titles, 39 of 42 weeks ranked in the top-25) in school history.
THE STUDENT on...
You're a human biology major. Any idea on the next move once you're finished with school? You hinted at the subject a bit earlier this month in a nice read from The Stanford Daily.
"I've actually just applied to medical school back in the UK as of last week, so right now that's the main thing. I prefer the health care system back home. So that's obviously the short term plan: attend medical school, graduate and become a doctor. From there, I'm definitely interested in pursuing humanitarian work globally. I've got a minor in Modern Languages, so using my Spanish and French to work potentially in developing countries or places where better health care is needed. Hopefully, specializing in an area of focus within pediatrics, because that's a big problem at the moment."
At Stanford, student-athletes supporting each other through attendance at home events has become commonplace. With a non-traditional sport such as field hockey, do you and your teammates have to work even harder to generate interest and support?
"Yes, we do. I find myself having to explain different things, such as basic rules and other parts of the game. There are 11 players on the pitch, that sort of thing. But really, you're talking about your sport. So, you are willing to put in that effort. In that case, it doesn't really make much of a difference. It's important for us to keep putting ourselves out there and that will then help with attendance. Especially, with some of our games now being televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Hopefully more people become exposed to our sport and get a chance to watch it before they come to Stanford. It's all part of growing our sport."
You were brave enough to jump off the high dive last fall during the filming of field hockey's 19 Hours episode. It made for a great clip in the video below (specifically, between 3:30-4:08). Those on the inside realize you have an adventurous spirit, and in this case, maybe even a slight ulterior motive?
"Filming the 19 Hours piece was really fun. Our team actually went back again at the end of the spring. Sort of a "present" for getting through the offseason. Emily Henriksson and I worked closely with Rebecca (Avery Aquatic Manager Rebecca Carpenter), and she let a few of us have a go. Jumping off the high dive was an item on my bucket list. It's all about the Stanford bucket list, isn't it? I feel like there are some things you have to do while on campus. There's the fountain-hopping; that seems to be an obvious one. Steam tunneling, which I have yet to do. I'd like to go to the listening room in the Knoll, turns out there is a listening room with perfect acoustics where you can play music and it sounds amazing. I don't know how many more I have on the list but feel like I am pretty close. I still have to do steam tunneling, that's the main one."
You guys are still searching for that first NCAA Tournament victory, but it's hard to argue with the accomplishments and program milestones achieved since your freshman year.
"When I first arrived, we were starting to become a little more than just a good team on the West Coast. The potential was there and that's sort of why I wanted to come here in the first place. Exactly for that opportunity: to grow and help bring this program to the forefront. Specifically in the last three years with our coaching staff, we are really starting to get noticed by other teams around the country. Yes, we are playing top-level competition. However, opposing coaches are also coming away saying `Wow, Stanford is a good team and really has something there.' We've got things that other programs do not have. This is a great academic institution. We have great weather for most of the year, so that gives us an opportunity to train throughout the year compared to other schools. I've been lucky to be a part of winning programs during my four years and I'm extremely proud of that."
Taking into account your statistics and leadership, it's easy to see why you are such an obvious choice to serve as team captain. Since earning that special title, what's something you've maybe learned about yourself?
"On the field, I'm a pretty fiery character. Sometimes I might have to control my actions. Not because it affects my game, because I am good about controlling my own emotions internally and still performing. But more for the impact it might have on our younger players. The coaches have really hammered that home with me and I have yet to get a card this season. (NOTE: The editor takes full responsibility of jinxing this streak, as Dru was issued her first yellow card on Oct. 23 against Cal.) I think just realizing that the younger players are looking up to me. So if I go off the page that my coaches want me on, other players are going to see that and think it's OK, when obviously it's not. That is the main thing I've learned."
You were fortunate enough to learn the ropes from two other England natives in Camille Gandhi (2007-10) and Xanthe Travlos (2007-10). This year's roster features players from Canada and New Zealand, along with another England product in freshman goalie Dulcie Davies.
"I know for me it was definitely a big help, having two teammates to look up to and ask questions about the international transition. That's something I've really tried to help our younger players with. My mum even said, `make sure you look out for the younger players because they will need it.' It's a big culture change for a lot of people, especially just with school. People say the Canadian players don't really have to make much of a change, but the schooling system is still different even from Canada. So everyone tries to help each other out. We have strong bonds between all classes (freshmen, sophomores, etc.), and not just our own class."