Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 28
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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GOLD MINER: Recently graduated Princeton University women’s lacrosse star Holly McGarvie heads to goal in action this past spring. Last month, McGarvie helped the U.S. national team win the gold medal in the Women’s Lacrosse World Cup in Prague, Czech Republic. McGarvie tallied four goals and three assists in World Cup competition and was second on the U.S. team in draw controls with 17. The American squad edged defending champion Australia 8-7 in the gold medal game.

PU Alum McGarvie Starts Post-Grad Career By Earning Gold With U.S. Women’s Lax

Bill Alden

Holly McGarvie didn’t get the chance to catch her breath after graduating from Princeton University early last month.

Two days after the commencement ceremony, the Tiger women’s lacrosse star headed to Baltimore to take part in the final training camp for the U.S. national team before it jetted off to Prague, Czech Republic for the Women’s Lacrosse World Cup.

The five-day camp turned into a cram session as the U.S. team worked to get in synch after not having been together since February.

“We were doing three sessions a day; we had a lot to get down,” said McGarvie, who was one of just five players on the roster who played in college this past spring.

“What you learn over four years helps but for the younger girls we needed to learn as much as we could. Some of the others had been playing together for five or six years. It was really good to have five days; things got more intense at the end.”

Applying those lessons and her customary intensity, McGarvie helped the U.S. win the title as the Americans edged defending champion Australia 8-7 in the gold medal game.

Despite winning plenty of games at Princeton as she starred in both lacrosse and field hockey. McGarvie wasn’t quite sure how to react at the moment of victory in the title game.

“I hadn’t visualized myself winning,” said McGarvie, a two-time first-team All-American in lacrosse who scored 168 points in her Princeton career.

“When it actually happened, I still didn’t believe it. Rushing the field, I hadn’t experienced anything quite like that. We won some big games at Princeton but nothing like this. I looked across the field, knowing we beat the best competition.”

After their hard work in Baltimore, McGarvie and her U.S. teammates were chomping at the bit to get at the competition in the World Cup tournament.

“We were full of excitement,” said McGarvie. “We were so ready to be there even though there were definitely things we had to work on. I felt relieved to finally be there.”

While the U.S. squad was ready to get rolling, it misfired a bit in the early stages of its opening game against England before pulling away to a 17-8 win.

“As much as we worked, we hadn’t played against another team in four or five months,” said McGarvie. “None of us had ever been to a World Cup, we were definitely playing with some nerves.”

Dealing with nerves helped the U.S. rally from a 9-4 halftime deficit in its 10-9 win over Australia in Pool A play.

“It was really calm; the coaches were calm,” said McGarvie, recalling the mood in the locker room at halftime.

“They knew we had it in us to play better. We needed to take care of the little things, like finishing our shots. In the second half, we really got our feet under us.”

McGarvie’s feet had trouble staying on the ground in the championship game.

“I never really played in that kind of situation; it was the biggest game of my life to this point,” said McGarvie.

“There were definitely a lot of nerves. At the same time, I was really excited. We got out there and took care of things; it was a really exciting game. There wasn’t any selfishness; we were all together.”

In McGarvie’s view, the work of U.S. team captain and Princeton assistant coach Michele DeJuliis helped unify the team.

“DJ is incredible; we have a big age range on the team and she did a good job of pulling everyone together,” asserted McGarvie.

“I looked to her as my leader from when she has coached me. Once you start coaching, it makes you a better player. You have a different perspective on the game and she showed that.”

Playing for the national team gave McGarvie a fresh perspective on what it takes to win at the international level.

“Everybody wanted to be there, it was a two and a half year process,” said McGarvie, who had four goals and three assists in World Cup competition and was second on the U.S. team in draw controls with 17. “Their hearts were into it. They were there to work hard and win.”

McGarvie’s heart is into making another World Cup run. “In four years, we’ll be the defending champions,” said McGarvie, who is headed to England where she will be coaching lacrosse and teaching over the next year at the Berkhamsted School in Hertfordshire.

“It is an irreplaceable experience; it is great to say that we are the best in the world. I will keep playing as long as they don’t cut me.”

And with McGarvie’s sharp play in the 2009 World Cup, it wouldn’t be surprising to see her strike gold again in four years.

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