August 29, 2012

Give & Go: Oregon Ducks Midfielder Nikki Puszcz

by Matt Forman | | Twitter

Nikki Puszcz likely is paying attention to the ongoing U.S. Open in New York. Her favorite athlete is women's tennis player Maria Sharapova.
© John Strohsacker/

Oregon's top scorer and junior midfielder dishes on dancing, "Friends" and West Coast lacrosse, from September's Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 400,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

Who's your favorite athlete?

Maria Sharapova. When I'm not playing lacrosse, I love playing tennis, and I have followed Maria since I first learned. I admire her hard work and dedication to the sport, and every time I watch her play I can instantly see the passion she brings to the game. Even when she is not playing well, it still is obvious that she is not giving up. I strive to have that same determination.

What's one thing you can't live without?

My day planner. I'm extremely organized and OCD about everything, especially when it comes to my schedule. If I didn't have my planner I would be lost!

If you could trade places with any one person for a day, who would it be?

Olivia Benson, a detective played by Mariska Hargitay on Law & Order SVU, one of my favorite shows. It would be an awesome way to experience the thrill of being a detective, along with the life of an actress.

What's one thing that always puts you in a good mood?

Watching "Friends." It is by far one of my all-time favorite shows, and there is something in every episode that makes me laugh. Yes, I have seen every episode. No matter how upset I am, "Friends" can always cheer me up, especially when my friends and I quote from it.

Where did you go on your last vacation?

Ocean City, Maryland. I went with my friends Liz, Jake and JB from high school. It was a short trip, but we managed to go out to a few different restaurants, along with mini golfing and relaxing on the beach. I also have a big family vacation to the Jersey Shore coming up that I'm really looking forward to.

What's one thing lacrosse really needs?

National and worldwide recognition. Lacrosse is getting increasingly bigger on the West Coast, but there are still many places that have never even heard of the sport. Once people start playing, they develop a passion for it, but I think more places need the exposure to lacrosse in order for it to gain more appreciation.

It's 2022 — Where are you and what are you doing?

I hope to put my degree in public relations to good use by either being an event planner or a publicist. If I have a job that I love that involves working with people, I will be happy. The more travel, the better.

What's been the proudest moment of your lacrosse career?

When we won the 2012 MPSF Tournament. My team and I worked extremely hard leading up to those games, and I couldn't have been happier with the outcome. I was extremely proud of my team because we accomplished goals that we had been working toward for a long time. Knowing our hard work paid off made us even more confident that we can do it again.

What was the last book you read?

The third book in The Hunger Games series, "Mockingjay." I liked the first two books, but I was nervous to read the third book because I heard from friends that it wasn't that good. However, I really liked it and I'm glad my team exposed me to the series.

What's the best class you've taken at Oregon?

Animal Behavior. The material we learned was easily recognizable in everyday life. It was fun to be able to learn about specific pet behaviors, and then go observe dogs or cats and how they respond to certain situations.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I really wanted to be a dancer. Before my lacrosse days, I danced competitively with my sister. Even though I've moved on, I still enjoy dancing and I take dance classes at Oregon whenever I get the chance.

What's the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome?

Moving across the country to start my life at a new school and on a new lacrosse team. It was tough being away from my family and friends because we are all extremely close, but moving to Oregon has definitely allowed me to grow as a person and experience life on the West Coast.

Who in lacrosse is destined to be a reality TV star?

I honestly think my whole lacrosse team could have its own reality TV show! We have such a diverse group of girls, and we would have a lot of fun seeing how we survive with one another without our sticks.


If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be and why? (from U.S. U19 and St. Augustine Prep midfielder Steve Pontrello)

I would want the ability to be in two places at once. It would be cool to live my life in Oregon while also being able to show up at places or events anywhere that I might miss out on.

Double Overtime

What was the most intense moment you have experienced in lacrosse? (from Emily Howell, Laurel, Md.)

When I stepped up to take the draw to start overtime against Navy in our NCAA play-in game. There were so many emotions running through my body at that moment, but I was extremely happy to be in that position.

Pose a question for our next subject.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Sumbit a Double Overtime Question


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