After serving as an understudy and part-time player for three years, Carolyn Macek is finally getting her chance to shine on Davidson’s field hockey team.
Macek, a senior goalkeeper, is stepping into the role vacated by a graduated Sarah Fisher, last year’s NorPac East Defensive Player of the Year and an all-Southeast second-team pick by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
It’s a challenge the Clifton, Va., native is relishing.
“Obviously, Fisher was an amazing role model,” Macek said. “She was like a coach for me the last three years, pretty much. Even though I didn’t get really a lot of action in games, even in practice she was always pushing me to work harder.
“Even before games, she was always saying ‘Carolyn, you’ve got to push me. You’ve got to work hard, because that makes me work harder.’”
Fisher – the program leader in career minutes played (4,678 over four seasons) and third in saves (406) – spent most of her time in goal for the Wildcats the last three years, while Macek spent most of her time on the bench.
Over the last three seasons, Macek has played in a total of nine games with one start (in 2011), and a total of nine saves. So far this season, Macek has almost doubled that saves number, already making seven as the Wildcats won their first two games.
“I was a little afraid at the end of last season that (being the starter) would be a big adjustment,” Macek said. “But it hasn’t been as big of an adjustment. It’s been different as far as being in more of a leadership role, but it hasn’t been as challenging as I expected it.
“Even though I hadn’t played in a lot of games, I was prepared otherwise. I have been practicing for three years.”
Macek made two saves and recorded her second career shutout (her first since 2011) in Davidson’s 6-0 victory over Georgetown on Aug. 30 in College Park, Md. She then had five saves – including a key stop on a penalty late in the match – in a 2-1 win over Towson on Sept. 1.
“It was unfortunate that we didn’t score more in that (Towson) game, because we had a lot of shots on,” Macek said. “The shots that ended up getting in the second half came on a lot of defensive breakdowns, so that was kinda tough. But it was good to be able to come up with those saves, because even when the breakdowns happen, I have the confidence that I can deal with that.”
Of course, it’s helped that Macek is fronted by an experienced defense, led by junior defender Madeline Herder, who led a squad that finished fourth in the NorPac East league in goals allowed last season.
“She’s working with a really good group,” Davidson head coach Ginny Turner said. “Our defense is probably one of the strongest parts of our field right now … and they’ve all taken a lot of responsibility to talk and be the ones calling out things. They work as a really good unit back there.”
Said Macek: “It’s made things a lot easier. Mads (Herder) pretty much knows what’s going on, and I can count on her to help. We’ve switched our formations, but she knows where people should be and isn’t afraid to tell them so.”
Wildcats men win at Carolina Challenge
Davidson’s men’s cross country team placed four runners among the top 10 finishers to win the team title at the Carolina Challenge meet Aug. 30 in Columbia.
The Wildcats finished with 35 points to 64 for runner-up College of Charleston, which had the event’s individual winner in Adam Seften. Seften completed the five-kilometer course at Fort Jackson in 15 minutes, 34.91 seconds.
Sophomore Daniel Samet was Davidson’s top runner, coming in fourth overall in 15:58.94. Also placing in the top 10 for the Wildcats were junior Whitner Chase (fifth at 16:05.38), junior Sal del Giudice (sixth in 16:06.61), and freshman Walker Mogen (eighth at 16:12.35).
The Wildcats’ next event will be the Wake Forest Invitational in Winston-Salem on Sept. 20.
Wildcats in three straight scoreless draws
Davidson’s women’s soccer team played to three consecutive scoreless draws in the opening week of its 2013 season.
The Wildcats opened the run at home against Coastal Carolina on Aug. 25, then got back-to-back shutouts against Florida Gulf Coast Atlantic and Florida Atlantic during the Embassy Suites Classic in Fort Myers, Fla., on Aug. 31-Sept. 1.
It’s been almost four years since Davidson has had that kind of a “hat trick,” since mid-October 2009, according to the college’s sports information department.
Both goalkeeper Rachel Locke and midfielder-forward Becca Fisher were named to the all-tournament team. Locke made 13 saves during the two-day tournament, including a penalty-kick save and a rebound shot against Florida Gulf Coast that helped force the game into overtime.
Kiser: 704-895-3662; Twitter: @Bkiser_CLTObs.
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