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CAMPUS ANGLE

Campus Angle Q&A: Holly Szafran, Newton North/Brandeis University soccer

A type 1 diabetic, Holly Szafran has captained the Brandeis University women’s soccer team to a 10-1-1 start.
A type 1 diabetic, Holly Szafran has captained the Brandeis University women’s soccer team to a 10-1-1 start.(Brandeis University)

A senior captain on the Brandeis women’s soccer team, Holly Szafran tallied decisive goals against Bridgewater State and Wheaton College as the Judges surged to a 10-1-1 start. “We moved Holly last year from forward to attacking midfielder and she’s embraced that role,’’ head coach Denise Dallamora said of the Newton North High grad. With four goals and two assists, the 5-foot-4-inch Szafran is on pace for her best single-season point total.

“She’s fit, dedicated, and an awesome person, so much fun to be around and a pleasure to coach,’’ Dallamora said.

A four-year starter, the 21-year-old Szafran, a health policy major with a minor in legal studies and politics, held career totals of 15 goals and 15 assists as of last week. Her seven assists last season ranked third in the University Athletic Association.

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At Newton North, Szafran was a Bay State Conference all-star and also played in the Eastern Mass. Senior All-Star game. Her grandfather, Martin Augelli, was a catcher in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system.

Q. As a type 1 diabetic, how do you manage the disease while playing soccer at a high level?

A. I use an insulin pump which also has a history log. I’ve learned over the past 12 years how to manage my medication and physical activity. For example, after a game my blood sugar is usually low in the middle of the night and so I have some juice or a snack. I have never missed a game in high school or college because of diabetes.

Q. Was it a difficult switch to attacking midfielder?

A. I have to defend more and I play the final ball more to the forwards, but moving back to the middle of the field was a smooth transition. It fit my style of play and ability to see the field.

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Q. Is there carry-over from your time as a high school hockey forward?

A. Yes, in terms of toughness and being able to take a fall. When that happens I usually wind up on my knees, which is a hockey instinct.

Q. What are your plans after graduation?

A. I will take a year off to work near Homewood, Ala., where my family moved two summers ago, and then attend the best law school I can get into.

Q. If you could suit up for any team in the world which would it be?

A. I would die to be on the Patriots with Tom Brady just for one game. Maybe the Patriots could use me as a backup place-kicker. I grew up in Michigan and we had season tickets for the University of Michigan games when he was quarterback there.

Q. What are the special memories of your grandfather?

A. We always watched the Yankees on TV when I was a little kid visiting him on holidays. We’d eat ice cream and play cards afterwards. We also played catch together. He was a huge inspiration.

Q. What goals do you have this season?

A. As a team to make it to the [Division 3] Final Four in Kansas City and as a captain I need to help keep us focused before every game, when we talk as a team about what it means to us, what we need to do and who we represent.

Q. You have been an intern at Global Partners LP in Waltham for three years. How will that experience help you in the future?

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A. I assist the lawyers and paralegals and help organize the office. It’s hard to get a paid undergraduate legal internship and I first saw the posting on the Brandeis job search website.Hopefully it will enhance my law school application.

Q. In what ways has Coach Dallamora been most supportive?

A. D is great at helping us balance academics and soccer and is like a second mom. She cooks for our tailgate parties and has arranged a Duck Tour, an apple picking outing and a pumpkin carving contest for the team.

Q. What are the most valuable lessons learned from sports?

A. Sharing a common goal and learning to work well with others.

Marvin Pave

Marvin Pave can be reached at marvin.pave@rcn.com.