Get to Know a Jumbo: Field Hockey Senior Hanaa Malik

MEDFORD – The Tufts field hockey team has remained perfect so far this season, posting an 8-0 record including a 5-0 record in NESCAC play. Currently, the Jumbos are ranked third in the country in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association poll. Senior Hanaa Malik has been a key contributor to the team and has built up quite the resume, now halfway through her final year.

Malik, one of six seniors on the team, has started all eight games this season. Dealing with injury her sophomore year, Malik was sidelined most of the season. Bouncing back during her junior campaign, she was second on the team in points with a total of 15. She scored five goals and added five assists, helping the Jumbos to an 11-5 record.From Summit, N.J., Malik is an International Relations major who has played in a total of 44 games for the Jumbos during her career. She scored the game-winning goal against Kean in a 1-0 win earlier this season and scored in the opening game against Colby in a 2-0 win. Malik continues to be an offensive threat in opposing team's defensive end and has helped lead the Jumbos to a perfect record thus far.

Hanaa Malik (#1) with senior classmates Claire Trilling (#4), Fallon Shaughnessy (#5) and Gigi Tutoni (#17). recently asked the senior forward some questions to get to know her a little better...

Q: When did you first become passionate about field hockey?

A: I became passionate about field hockey as soon as I picked up a stick in seventh grade. I tried it out in gym class and enjoyed it so much that I decided to try out for the school team. Like a lot of people, I tried basically every sport growing up from soccer to basketball to tennis, but I really connected with field hockey. As I moved into high school my love of field hockey grew stronger and I knew I wanted to continue to play at college.

Q: How important is senior leadership considering the high number of underclassmen on this year's team?

A: There are six seniors on the team including myself. Having spent the last three years together and creating new experiences both on and off the field we have a great connection and really 'get' each other. We strive to set a good example by working hard, but at the same time like to have fun. We know we need to hold ourselves accountable as well as the whole team – we need no excuses attitudes. We are honest and open about everything with each other because we all want to make our last season the best it can be. However, I think everyone on the team is a leader because we bring our love and enthusiasm to the game and would do anything to make this season successful. We have started the season off well because we all believe in each other and in the team. Every member of the team is really stepping it up this year and contributing 100% at practice and in every game. I'm really proud of how the whole team has been performing.

Q: What is special about this year's team in particular?

A: The team dynamic this year is incredible. Those of us who were on the team last year are so excited to be back together again on the field and picked up right where we left off. The chemistry just keeps getting stronger each day. The seven freshmen that joined the team this year have been really impressive and they've fit right in. Every member of our team has a singular focus – the success of the team – and we've seen success because we work together well and treat each other as equals. Every time we step into the locker room the team energy is so high and so positive. We all love to laugh, sing and dance with each other and we're always there to pick each other up if someone is feeling down. It's a great feeling to know that 21 great people have your back and are looking out for you.

Q: What has to be done to ensure your team's success going down the road?

A: We know that when we play our game at our best we can be unstoppable. We need to remember to stay calm, focus on fundamentals and finish in the circle. We always talk about outworking our opponents and leaving it all on the field. We have to continue to believe that we're a great team and that we can win every game if we play with confidence and consistency up until the final whistle. We need to continue to take the rest of this season one game at a time and capitalize on every opportunity.

Q: What kind of activities do you enjoy outside of field hockey?

A: I used to dance and perform up until college and still love watching dance and try to take classes whenever I can. I am also a dessert fiend and love to bake whenever I have the time and the ingredients. On top of those things my biggest love is travel. My goal is to visit every continent before I'm 25 (I'm 4 for 7 right now)!

Q: What about Tufts attracted you to the school?

A: I fell in love with Tufts before I visited and visiting it only offered further confirmation that it was the right place for me. I wanted to play field hockey at college and focused on D3 schools because I didn't want to compromise on the academics or miss out on the full college experience or opportunity to study abroad. Tufts offered me everything I was looking for: the right size of school in an amazing location with stellar academics and an amazing field hockey program. The chance to study abroad and play field hockey was a huge selling point for me and I spent last semester in Lisbon, Portugal, which was an unforgettable experience and a huge highlight of my college experience.

Q: How has Tufts helped you grow both academically and athletically?

A: My whole experience at Tufts – both academic and athletic - has helped me mature and become more confident. I have learned how to work with people, to manage my time, to be super-productive under time pressures, to organize, to lead and to know when to just be a friend. Academically I have been challenged by the courses I have taken and have been exposed to areas of study that have fascinated me. Athletically, I feel as though I am pushed to be my best every single day. Surrounded by talented and supportive people has made me want to excel, be stronger and has added to my confidence in my own skills and abilities. As an athlete injuries can sometimes impact you hugely. Managing a setback like that, which I had in my sophomore year, and learning how to stay positive was a huge life lesson for me. I learned that I had to take responsibility for my recovery and be prepared to do what was needed to get myself back on the field again.

Q: Do you have any role models? If so, how have they helped you?

A: My parents and my two older sisters are my role models. I cannot thank my parents enough for the countless hours they spent driving me to recruiting events before I came to Tufts, watching games and finding the best doctors for my various injuries. Also, they have and continue to support and advise me whenever I need them. They truly are my biggest fans and advocates. I aspire to be as kind, caring and supportive to others as they are to me. My sisters are also my role models because they have paved the way for me. They have created such stable and rewarding lives for themselves and they share their knowledge and experience with me whenever I need support. They are always there for me. I hope to be as happy and successful as they are.  

Q: What are your goals for after graduation?  

A: I will hopefully be employed - fingers crossed - somewhere in New York or Boston. I have a strong interest in marketing and business development and would love to work in a fun, fast-paced and collaborative environment. I want to continue to travel and see as many places as I can and experience new cultures. But, the most important thing for me is that I want to be happy. I know Tufts has prepared me for my life after graduation, so I'm focused on having the best time in my last year of college.


Compiled by Athletic Communications Intern Ryan Servant