by Andrew Garda

The Montclair High School Girls Lacrosse 2017 season is underway, and as expected, senior attacker Olivia Rivera is one of the leaders on and off the field. Rivera has six goals in two games so far and her four goals were a key factor in MHS’ 8-7 win over Mendham on Friday, March 31.

For Rivera, her love of the game has been around a long time.

“I’ve been playing lacrosse since first grade and I really got a passion for it. I’ve been playing ever since,” Rivera says. “I love the team bonding we have and everything about both the sport.”

She credits her father, who played in college, with creating her love for the game. “He always passed with me in the back yard and got me really into it.”

Rivera will be continuing her lacrosse career after high school at the University of Arizona. Currently Arizona, which plays in the Pac12, only competes as a club-level team, but will be playing as a Division I program in the next couple of years. She’s excited to help build a foundation for future players and being on the ground floor of a brand-new program.

“I can’t wait to see the team build,” Rivera says. “It’s going to be an awesome experience, and a super-fun time as well so I can’t wait.”

We checked in with Olivia at a Monday afternoon practice at Woodman Field, and she was kind enough to take part in a Q&A:

Nicknames: “Liv or Livie.”

Favorite sport to play: Lacrosse

Favorite sport to watch: “I’d have to say basketball. My family always watches it, especially March Madness. I’m really into that,” Rivera said. “I also really like watching women’s lacrosse, especially at the highest levels. College games are so cool and entertaining, to see how intense they are.”

Favorite athlete: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots — and more importantly a former University of Arizona player.

Pregame ritual: “I like to dance to dance with my team, in the fieldhouse. Pregame, jumping up and down. The girls will definitely testify that I’m always ‘Let’s go!’”

Proudest sports moment: “Just playing with my high school team, working together so well and feeling that team bonding we’ve been getting. I’m really proud of that.”

Favorite TV show: “The Office” and “American Horror Story.”

Favorite movie: “Forrest Gump.” She also likes horror movies. Her brother tried to scare her with them but she turned the tables and started to like them, particularly the Insidious series.

Favorite song: “All I Do is Win,” by DJ Khaled, T-Pain, Rick Ross, Ludacris and Snoop Dogg.

Dinner for four: “I really like Drake and Gronk. But definitely Michelle Obama. President Obama can come too and hang for a little bit but I have to talk to Michelle.”

Favorite school subject: English.

Plans for after high school: Short term after school Rivera wants to travel. “I love traveling. I want to do a semester abroad as well. There’s a thing at Arizona called the Semester at Sea, where you go on a big cruise ship and travel around to different countries. Just try to get a ton of cultural experiences.”

Who inspires you: “Definitely Michelle Obama. She’s really strong, independent and powerful. My mom, because she’s awesome as well. My dad too.”