Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 24
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
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LOOK OUT WORLD: Holly McGarvie heads to goal this spring in her final season for the Princeton University women’s lacrosse team. McGarvie, who was a first-team All-American and the Co-Ivy League Player of the Year this spring, is currently in Prague, Czech Republic playing for the U.S. National team in the 2009 Women’s Lacrosse World Cup.

McGarvie Showed Love for Game in PU Career, Now on World Stage for U.S. Women’s Lacrosse

Bill Alden

Playing two sports at Princeton University and keeping up with the school’s academic load is a daunting challenge.

The never-ending cycle of workouts, practices, and games combined with classes, homework, and a thesis senior year is a grind not unlike working two 40-hour-a week jobs simultaneously.

But for Holly McGarvie, the love of simply playing games sustained her through a four-year marathon of playing field hockey and lacrosse at Princeton.

“Having the chance to be competitive year-round was great,” said McGarvie, who graduated from Princeton earlier this month.

“I was always playing games; focused on what’s next and preparing. I missed out on some things like fall ball in lacrosse. You can’t do everything. My teammates in both sports supported me. The lacrosse players would come to field hockey games and the field hockey players would come to lacrosse games.”

McGarvie certainly gave those teammates plenty of reason to cheer. In field hockey, she started nearly every game over her four years, earning All-Ivy league honors in her final three seasons. She finished with 69 points, including 29 in her senior year.

When the calendar turned to spring, McGarvie energized the Tigers with her aggressive play in the midfield. She was a first-team All-American in her final two seasons and was the Ivy Co-Player of the Year this season. She scored 168 points in her career and ranks in the Top 10 in program history in points, assists, and ground balls.

Graduation from college, though, hasn’t ended the games for McGarvie. This week, she will be in Prague, Czech Republic playing for the U.S. national team in the 2009 Women’s Lacrosse World Cup which runs from June 17-27.

For McGarvie, playing games on the international stage is something to savor.

“I think it is just so special; it is something that most people don’t get to experience,” said McGarvie, a native of Medford, N.J.

“There is a special bond among the players; we want to show the world what U.S. lacrosse is all about. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

In reflecting on her Princeton career, McGarvie said she learned some valuable life lessons from playing two sports in college.

“It was challenging; I learned more on the field in games and in the locker room than I learned in class,” asserted McGarvie.

“You have to deal with things. You deal with failure and pick yourself back up and think about what’s next. You take a step forward. There are lots of ups and downs. You can lose a game on Wednesday and then need to be ready for a game on Saturday.”

As a captain of both the field hockey and women’s lacrosse teams, McGarvie had to help guide her teammates through those ups and downs.

“Being able to be a captain was great, I have passed the torch to the next set of captains,” added McGarvie.

“As a junior and senior, you need to forget about yourself and look at what’s best for the team.”

Although things didn’t end well for McGarvie’s last Princeton team as the Tiger women’s lacrosse squad fell 16-9 to Northwestern in the NCAA quarterfinals, she still saw positives in the process.

“I can’t say it was a success in the sense that we had goals like winning the Ivy League and getting to the Final Four and we didn’t achieve those,” said McGarvie, who had a team-high 57 points this spring on 36 goals and 21 assists.

“But we had some incredible comebacks. We came out everyday and competed hard. In that sense, we had a successful season.”

McGarvie’s success on two fronts helped her earn the 2009 Otto von Kienbusch Award, the top honor for Princeton senior female student-athletes.

“I am very grateful and humbled,” said McGarvie, reflecting on winning the von Kienbusch Award which she shared with four other classmates.

“I am grateful for my teammates that supported me; I needed them to be able to get these awards. The coaches helped a lot; their critiques helped me get better. It is special to get the honor and see the others who have won this in the past.”

Now, McGarvie is focusing on building strong bonds with her U.S. teammates.

“We are trying to build team chemistry; I don’t know the girls like I know my teammates at Princeton,” said McGarvie, who earned her spot on the national team through a rigorous selection process that started in her sophomore year at Princeton.

“I have played against a lot of the girls but we are still friends. They have been incredible. We have been sending pump up e-mails to each other.”

Playing with the U.S. has enabled McGarvie to tap into her competitive passion.

“It’s much faster, there is more risk taking,” said McGarvie in assessing the level of play on the national team.

“We are out on the 30 yard line on defense; you don’t see that in college games. It makes you a much better player, more skilled and poised.”

McGarvie is hoping to provide some energetic play in the middle of the field for the U.S. squad.

“I will be one of the midfielders, bringing some younger legs,” said McGarvie, who is being joined on the U.S. team by Princeton assistant coach and former Penn State standout Michelle DeJuliis.

“The players right out of college have game sense. Coming out of the season we should be sharper.”

The U.S. will have to be sharp if it is to regain the title it lost to Australia in the 2005 World Cup.

“It is a totally different team; that’s not a bad thing,” said McGarvie, who headed to a U.S. training camp two days after her June 4 graduation from Princeton.

“We all know what happened and we are hungry. We are mad about it and we are going to show the world that we are mad.”

If the U.S. can channel that anger into a world title, McGarvie will get to experience something she never did in all her games for Princeton.

“We heard our 1994 champs talk this year and they said that it is great to say for one day that you are the best in the country,” said McGarvie, who will be teaching and coaching in England after finishing play in the World Cup. “To say you are the best in the world would be hard to fathom.”

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