Sasha Elliott finds comfort as a goalie

Sophomore goalie Sasha Elliott started all 19 games last season. Photo courtesy of VCU Athletics

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

For some people, an injury in sports would result in missing time on the field. But for sophomore goalie Sasha Elliott, an injury turned out to be a good thing. 

When she was nine, Elliott had a problem in her foot, so she couldn’t run as much as she could before. Elliott’s coach put her in goal so she could still play, and she hasn’t left since. 

“I think a lot of people think it’s so scary, but I think it’s the greatest thing,” Elliott said of playing goalie. 

The Amsterdam, Netherlands, native played in the field for her first two years of field hockey before she was placed in the goal. As a field player, Elliott was aggressive and unafraid of the ball, so the transition was easy for her.

Nine years later, Elliott was the starting goalie for VCU in her freshman season. Elliott said she is playing with more confidence this season after starting in all 19 games last year for the Rams. 

Last season, Elliott logged 69 saves and four shutouts with a goals-against average of 1.44, earning Atlantic 10 All-Rookie team honors. 

On the occasion that Elliott concedes a goal, she takes it personally but knows the ball has to go through the other players on the field before it gets to her. 

“If we lose, I let the goals in so that’s obviously the most difficult part to deal with,” Elliott said. “It’s also reassuring that it has to go past 10 people before it gets to me. But it’s still hard as a goalie, you’ll never not struggle with that.” 

As a goalie, Elliott has to refocus after allowing a goal. She takes a drink of water and gives herself time to relax.  

“You can’t let it affect you in the game,” Elliott said. “Afterwards you can talk about it, but in the game you have to flip that switch [and move on].”

While in goal, Elliott plays similarly to how she did when she was a younger player in the field. 

“When I was younger and more immature as a goalie, I came out more, and more harshly, and take down players when it was unnecessary,” Elliott said. “I think I’ve grown a lot and only come out when it’s necessary.”

Elliott said she is not afraid to come out of the goal and pressure an attacking player when she needs to. Normally she comes out of the goal on breakaways or when a player drives on the baseline toward the goal. 

One play Elliott doesn’t like much is a penalty corner. 

“It’s just a harder situation because it’s coming from a stationary situation and then it suddenly moves,” Elliott said. “It’s basically a straight shot on net.”

This season, Elliott has appeared in six games, logging 20 saves and one shutout. 

Elliott made it clear what she would say if she were given the opportunity to play in the field again. 

“No. I just like to stay in the goal.”

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