July 4, 2013

Team USA's Huether Ready When You Need Her

by Justin Feil | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Megan Huether is a key player for Team USA, like when she came off the bench to anchor a shutout of Australia in the gold medal match of the 2009 FIL World Cup.
© John Stohsacker 

The normally subdued Duke University athletics office erupted in late June 2009.

That's when Megan Huether was inserted in goal for starter Devon Wills at halftime of Team USA's World Cup pool play finale against Australia. Each of Huether's six saves helped shut out the defending world champion, as Team USA rallied from a 9-4 deficit to win 10-9.

"She was huge," said Kerstin Kimel, Huether's coach at Duke from 2003-06. "We all watched on computer. Everyone was cheering in the office."

Huether came up big against Australia again in the gold medal match. When Wills went out late with a yellow card, she helped hold Australia at bay in the clinching win.

"You have to look at every time you go on the field as an opportunity," Huether said.

Huether is back with the U.S. after an "eye-opening" concussion forced her to miss one tryout, and with Wills back in the fold.

"No one wants to be called a backup," she said. "I don't train like I'm a backup. I train like I have to be ready every single game."

Nor does Wills take her spot for granted.

"I've never thought of us being 1 and 2," Wills said. "I've thought she could beat me out at any moment. She has different strengths than I do. She tracks the ball really well. She knows how to be poised. Sometimes I try to do too much. She has really quick hands. She takes care of the ball really well. I don't think I've ever seen her turn it over."

Huether got her only start of the 2009 World Cup against Japan, but was ready when called to play in big spots.

"It challenges you in different ways when you come off the bench," Huether said. "You swallow your pride and do what you have to for your team."

Huether never lacked confidence, but her play took off her junior year at Duke with an increased commitment to fitness.

"I use her as an example for my goalies. That was the difference between being a really good goalie and being All-American," Kimel said. "I haven't had one like her."

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