The confidence and intensity Paige Laytos exudes during something as routine as daily practice is an indicator of her commitment to the Michigan field hockey team.
Last Sunday, Laytos was named Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
The sophomore didn’t expect the recognition, even after playing a key role in the team’s comeback against Iowa last Friday.
“I was playing a forward position, and there were times when I was a (midfielder),” Laytos said. “I never thought I would get defensive player (of the week).”
It wasn’t just the defensive nature of the award that caught Laytos off guard. She thrives on the team-first philosophy emphasized by Michigan coach Nancy Cox.
Cox describes Laytos as “the consummate competitor.”
“I just try to give 100 percent on and off the field in everything I do and just hope that people can see that and (my teammates) can feed off of that,” Laytos said.
Laytos is a self-proclaimed “lead by my intensity on the field” kind of player.
The Lititz, Penn., native began playing field hockey in fourth grade at a summer camp. After doubting whether she wanted to continue playing in middle school, she moved on to play for Warwick High School and enjoyed her experience. She credits her mom for making her stick with it.
“(My favorite part of playing for Michigan is) how rich in tradition it is, how everybody loves the sports and everyone supports each other,” Laytos said. “Michigan has a great balance of everything I was looking for, and it actually exceeded my expectations.”
Cox credits Laytos as being all about the team. This dedication, along with her outstanding individual efforts, makes Layton such a special player.
“This team, to me, means absolutely everything; I love every single one of them,” Laytos said. “I’m an only child, but it’s like I have 22 sisters. It’s the coolest feeling.”