Next in Line

Aug. 16, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa field hockey program has a long-standing history of churning out All-American and US National Team goalkeepers. Junior Kathleen McGraw may be the next in line.

This summer, McGraw received attention on the national scene through her play at the Junior National Championship Tournament and Junior National Team Camp. She was named to the USA U21 Junior National Squad, was selected to the 2011 Junior National Team Camp and was tabbed as the “Goalkeeper of the Tournament” at the USA Junior High Performance National Championships.

“Competing well at a high level this past summer definitely gives me momentum heading into the 2011 season,” said McGraw, who has started 33 games in her first two seasons with the Hawkeyes.

McGraw has been focusing on improving various aspects of her game in preparation for her junior season.

“Throughout the offseason, I have been working to apply my quickness and footwork to game situations,” said McGraw. “This past spring, all of the extra training started to yield results. It has been exciting to see this breakthrough, and the award at the tournament was the icing on the cake.”

Associate head coach Lisa Cellucci — a three-time All-American and former U.S. National Team member — is excited about the prospects that lie ahead for McGraw.

“Kathleen has steadily improved during her first two seasons, but this spring and summer, she has made huge strides,” said Cellucci. “She has already made the jump to the next level.”

Iowa is “Goalkeeper U.” when it comes to collegiate field hockey. Along with Cellucci, Donna Lee was a former All-America selection and holds the school records in victories (79) and shutouts (48). Former All-American Karen Napolitano led the Hawkeyes to the 1986 national championship.

Andrea Wieland, a member of the UI Athletics Hall of Fame, is a former All-American and a 1996 U.S. Olympian. Kelly Druley earned All-American honors in 1999. Barb Weinberg, a former All-American, competed on the U.S. National Team for six years, and Lissa Munley, a four-year starter, helped lead Iowa to its most recent NCAA Final Four appearance in 2008.

McGraw is familiar with the history surrounding the Iowa field hockey program and is humbled to follow in their footsteps.

“It is truly an honor to follow goalkeeping standouts like Wieland, Cellucci and Weinberg,” said McGraw.

If McGraw keeps improving, Cellucci thinks bigger things are on the horizon.

“If she continues to focus on the small areas of her game, there is no reason that she can’t dominate on the US U21 Team and in the upcoming years break into the US National Senior Squad,” said Cellucci. “Iowa is known around the country as a goalkeeping factory, and we are going to keep that going as long as we can.”

The Hawkeye goalkeeper tradition is living on.

Iowa hosts Louisville in its exhibition-opener Friday at noon at Grant Field.