Widgets Magazine
Senior Sit Down: Field hockey’s Alex McCawley
Senior Alex McCawley (above) leads the team in goals, with 14, and points, with 32. She will look to lead the Cardinal to their first program victory in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday. (NATHAN STAFFA/The Stanford Daily)

Senior Sit Down: Field hockey’s Alex McCawley

This season, Stanford field hockey senior Alex McCawley has recorded numerous career-highs. She is the team leader in goals (14) and points (32), and was named the NorPac conference’s Offensive Player of the Year. The Cardinal are undoubtedly hoping her hot streak continues as they head into NCAA tournament play, with a tough opener against Louisville on Saturday. The Stanford Daily sat down with the international relations major to discuss her career as a Cardinal, the team’s goals for the rest of the season, and why she is nervous about becoming a “muggle”.

The Stanford Daily (TSD): How does it feel to know that you’re about to enter your last postseason tournament as a member of the Stanford field hockey team?

Alex McCawley (AM): I try not to think about it. We are all super excited to be going but it is kind of scary, since a bunch of my friends are now Muggles (context: no longer competing in athletics). They’ve finished their careers, and it is nerve-wracking to think that we are now playing for each game; so going into this every game is potentially my last. So, I want to make sure that it’s not my last and just keep going and win each one.

TSD: Obviously, you’re more focused on team success, but how does it feel to be named NorPac Offensive Player of the Year?

AM: It felt amazing. But I feel like I am just doing my role as a forward; scoring goals is what I am supposed to be doing. It was great to get the individual recognition, but I know that no goals would have been scored had it not been from playmaking from the team. I’ve just been in the right spots and had the right opportunities. Really, all I’m doing is capitalizing on the fantastic work of the people behind me. So being an offensive player that’s my role on the team, but everyone else has also been doing their roles very well. It’s really cool to get that individual recognition, but also know that it is just an accumulation of everyone’s goal more than someone who just puts the ball in the net.

TSD: In the past few weeks, when sometimes two or three players have guarded you and you couldn’t get offensive chances, your role has shifted to more of a distributor. How have you adapted?

AM: At first it was very frustrating, because I’ve been used to playing with a few people on me but never to this extent. So now I have been more focused on distributing the ball quicker or setting up other players. But it is just as rewarding to know that you got an assist or opened up space. Since people are double-manning me, that means one of our forwards are open. And since everyone on our team is super effective and very dangerous, it is a great opportunity for our team.

TSD: How has the program changed over your four years here?

AM: Every year the team has gotten closer and closer (to a national championship), and it’s been harder and harder to say goodbye to people who are leaving. Especially this year, I’ve never felt so much part of a family. The team is always together, and looking for the success of everyone else. When someone else succeeds, it makes everyone else happy. It has been really cool to see how the progression of every year has brought us closer together and now we are at the stage to know we have something special and deserve something fantastic. We are fighting for a national championship for each other, not just for ourselves.

TSD: How is this season different?

AM: Going into this season just felt different. We could taste and feel something special. The team has been amazing because we are fighting for each other. We are all bringing this tenacious force on the field, and working as hard as we can. And that has really translated into something spectacular this season, as we all feel a part of it. We are really writing something special and it’s all because we’re there for each other. We bring a fight that’s unmatched in feistiness. Each person has been doing their role so well, that our success is really based on the connections we’ve managed to create.

TSD: What would be the picture-perfect ending to this season for you and your team?

AM: I’m going to say holding the NCAA National Championship Cup, and getting a nice hat and shirt in the process. I think that could be the most picturesque thing our team could imagine.

Contact Amanda McLean at ammclean ‘at’ stanford.edu.