May 9, 2013

Q&A: Tewaaraton Finalist, Florida Goalie Meagher

by Clare Lochary | | Twitter

Florida junior goalie Mikey Meagher is the first female goalie finalist in the history of the Tewaaraton Award.
© Jim Burgess

* Men's, Women's Finalists Announced
* Men's Breakdown: Thompson's Inclusion a Milestone Moment

* Women's Breakdown: Meagher First Female Goalie Finalist

On Thursday morning, Florida senior goalie Mikey Meagher became the first female goalie to be named a Tewaaraton Award finalist since the honors were first handed out in 2001. caught up with the Gators' star Thursday afternoon to talk about the accomplishment.

How did you find out that you were a Tewaaraton finalist?
"I got a call directly [Wednesday] night. I picked up and they told me the news, and I didn't really believe it at first. I thought it was a prank. I was in a car with Emily [Dohony] and Kayla [Stollins] when I took the call and they kept wondering what was going on with the call. I told them, and then the three of us were really excited."

How does it feel to be the first female goalie to be a finalist?
This is a huge honor, and one that I'm really grateful for. I also want to say that I get to be in this position because I have 11 other players in front of me that help me get to success. It's good being recognized, but I'm more happy for the success of my team. Those defenders we've been playing with, Jamie [Reeg], Kayla, Emily and Sam [Farrell], we take our defense and make it our own. We communicate really well and make it work. None of this is possible without them.

Would you describe yourself as a positional goalie, or a more active goalie?
I would say more active. But it really depends more on our opponent. I'm going to try to get interceptions when I can, or come out if there's a loose ground ball, but you also have to play smart in regards to your opponent.

Were you one of those kids who always wanted to be a goalie, or did someone have to ask you to volunteer?
I absolutely, right from the first second, wanted to be a goalie. Well, I didn't want to play lacrosse at all at first, because it was my sister's thing, so I thought if I was a goalie, it was more of a punishment for my parents. Because in my mind, I thought [as a goalie] I didn't really have to do anything, and it would be boring to watch. But then I ended up loving it. I'm really happy with it. When I made that first save in the third grade, ever since then, I absolutely love it and it's been my passion ever since then.

What's your favorite thing about being a goalie?
I kinda like the pressure. It's different, just because you're going to be on the bottom or on the top emotionally. There's nothing like feeling you made a huge difference in the game and being on cloud nine, especially sharing that with the great defense I have in front of me.

You spent some time with the U.S. team this year. What did that add to your game?
That experience did add a lot to my game. It required me to think about my decision making. Everything matters. Defensively, it helped me learn some more things and really understand what is going on. I learned a lot from it and really cherished my experience on the team so far.

What have you done to raise your game this year?
I really focused on certain drills that have helped me in the past. I work with [Florida assistant] Erica [LaGrow] and that's what we've been focused on. Experience helps, too. It's my third year in the cage here for Florida. Erica and I do a lot of drills that involve tennis balls. The tennis ball comes off her stick faster and it really helps with reaction.

What are the Gators doing to pass the time before the first round of the NCAA tournament, and get ready for either Denver or Jacksonville in the second round?
We've been spending a lot of time here at our facility, practicing for the things that we need to work on. We'll watch the [first round game between Denver and Jacksonville in Gainesville] as a team [Friday]. We're doing a lot of team building throughout the week, too. We had plans for a cookout at one of our seniors' house, things like that, and we're going to get meals together between films sessions.

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