Star of the Week (Maura McCormick): Redshirt sophomore shuts out opposition

Kaitlin Santanna

Field hockey’s Maura McCormick has played several varsity sports in her career and has faced many different situations on the field. This past weekend, however, McCormick found herself in a new position – making collegiate history. As the team’s starting goalkeeper, the redshirt sophomore has been in net for each of the Wildcats’ first four games. During this time, ‘Nova allowed the fewest number of goals against in the first four games in program history: zero.

Recording four shutouts in a season is an accomplishment, let alone four in a row. It was for this stellar play in net to start the season that McCormick has been named The Villanovan’s Star of the Week.

McCormick’s fourth shutout came against Fairfield University last Sunday. Although it was the first time that the two teams had met, Villanova’s defense had the Stags figured out from the opening whistle. The Wildcat defense was in full force, and McCormick only had to make one save en route to notching the team’s fourth victory of the season.

The sophomore keeper’s performance did not go unnoticed by the league. McCormick was given the Big East Defensive Player of the Week honors this past Monday. During her first four games this season, she has played all 210 minutes in net for the Wildcats. This past weekend, McCormick posted seven saves in her three shutouts. In just four games, McCormick has already eclipsed the three shutouts she recorded all of last season.

McCormick hails from Forty Fort, Pa., a town outside of Wilkes-Barre, and attended Wyoming Valley West, a high school with a strong sports reputation. Throughout high school, McCormick played in three varsity sports, receiving letters for ice hockey and soccer as well as field hockey. Although strong in all three sports, she excelled in field hockey, earning an All-State honorable mention for her senior season.

Maura decided to save a year of eligibility and opted to redshirt her freshman year at Villanova. McCormick’s waiting paid off, and she started all 18 games for the Wildcats last season. In 2007, the ‘keeper allowed just 41 goals and recorded a goals-against average of 2.25.

Even though McCormick and the Wildcats have won all four of their games to start the season, they did so in different ways. Villanova’s 4-0 victory over Fairfield was offensively charged, but the team’s home opener on Sept. 3 was a defensive struggle. McCormick was forced to make two saves in the game, and the match’s only goal was scored by Villanova in the game’s closing seconds.

Many things have been proven about the field hockey team just four games into the season, but perhaps the most reassuring is the calming presence of McCormick in goal. She has proven that whether the situation is a nail-bitingly tight match or an offensively controlled game, she is able to lead a defense that is capable of holding off even the strongest attacks. The ‘Cats are going to need a strong defense to protect McCormick as they enter into the toughest part of the season starting at the end of the month. Regardless of how long the shutout and win streaks last, the Wildcats can be assured that they have a strong force in goal in McCormick for many seasons to come.