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I got the mic: Katia Naame, Atlantic City High School field hockey

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Katia Naame is a junior on an Atlantic City High School field hockey team that made its first playoff appearance since 2007 last year and won nine of its first 16 games this season. Glory Days Magazine publisher Dave O’Sullivan caught up with the 16-year-old Margate resident after an Oct. 5 win over Vineland to talk about the Vikings’ season, who keeps the team entertained on bus rides to away games, and where she plans to go as soon as she gets her driver’s license. Sully: Going back to last year, how cool was that getting a home playoff game? Naame: That was amazing because we were the underdogs and came out of nowhere. It was crazy, because no one expected us to get that far, and it was a great feeling to be able to achieve something like that and for the program to go that far. Sully: Did you feel like that put pressure on you guys coming into this season? Naame: It definitely did because we’re going to have to work extra hard to meet the standard we set last year, but I’m sure we can do it. We have a lot of support from our fans, our coaches and our parents. Sully: What has been the toughest part about this season so far? Obviously, these other teams are gunning for you guys now and want to beat you. How tough has the competition been the first four or five weeks? Naame: It’s been pretty tough. Last year, people didn’t expect us to be as good as we were. Since we beat a lot of the teams last year that we normally don’t, they are coming back at us for blood, basically. They want to beat us because we beat them (last year). Sully: How much did last year’s success motivate you guys? Did a lot of the girls on the team dedicate themselves more to field hockey? Naame: Yeah, they did. Everyone is really dedicated on the team, the seniors, the juniors, even the younger players are motivated to become better for the team so we can do just as well as we did last year. Sully: Where do you feel the confidence level of this team is at? You had that real good start and then that loss against Mainland. Was that kind of a wake-up call? Katia Naame and the Atlantic City field hockey team made the playoffs last year, and are 9-5-2 heading into today's game against Egg Harbor Township. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O'Sullivan) Katia Naame and the Atlantic City field hockey team made the playoffs last year, and are 9-5-2 heading into today’s game against Egg Harbor Township. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O’Sullivan) Naame: Yeah, it was a wake-up call. We weren’t working together as well as we normally do and we had to fix that in order to get back on our game. We’re definitely getting there. Sully: What do you think will be the key going down the stretch? Obviously you guys want to make the playoffs again. What do you feel like you guys have to do to finish strong? Naame: We just have to keep our passing game up, work together, talk on the field and act as a team and we can get there, just like we did last year. Sully: What’s been your impression of coach Ali Juliano? She’s in her second year now. Does she feel more comfortable with you guys? Naame: Yeah, definitely. She’s a lot more comfortable with us now. She’s really supportive of the team. She’s great. Sully: Who is the biggest character on the away bus rides? Naame: Hannah Mackler and Hanna Giaccone. They are crazy. They definitely make it enjoyable. Sully: It seems like you guys all really get along pretty well. How did that team chemistry come about? It seems like you guys have a lot of fun even when you are not playing field hockey. Naame: We always have fun. We all get along, which makes it a lot easier to work together both on and off the field. Sully: What’s the toughest thing about being a high school athlete? You’re talking about some long days, being up at six in the morning and a lot of times you don’t get home until seven or eight at night. Does that get to be a grind after a while? Naame: Yeah, it does. I have hard classes and it’s definitely a struggle sometimes. There’s a lack of sleep, but you just have to work through it. Sully: How often do you procrastinate? Naame: I procrastinate a lot, but somehow I manage to get everything done. Sully: When you are in pregame, what song really gets you going? Naame: There’s this one song we have on our playlist, it’s like a song from the Lion King, but it’s a mix-up. It’s really funny, actually, and always gets our whole team pumped up. Sully: What is the biggest misconception about Atlantic City High School? Naame: People think there are a bunch of bad kids there and no one really does well, but the truth is a lot people do really well there and excel in sports and school. Sully: If you are willing to admit this, who was your celebrity crush when you were 12 years old? Naame: Zac Efron. I fell in love with him from High School Musical. Sully: Which is the best boy band of all time? Naame: Honestly, I don’t really listen to boy bands that much. Maybe 5 Seconds of Summer because they have that one good song, “Amnesia.” Sully: What’s the best thing about living in Margate? Naame: Everyone lives close and there is always stuff to do, like the beach in the summertime. And you can ride your bike to get food, because I don’t have my license yet. Sully: When you get your license, where’s the first place you will drive to? Naame: Probably Chick-Fil-A. Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays [adsense]

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