Being unexpectedly thrown into a game to guard the goal against a top-ranked team was not exactly what sophomore Maggie Fava had in mind before this lacrosse season. But that’s exactly what happened to her after senior Ashley Charron, who would later leave the team, let in five goals through six minutes of play against No. 12 Notre Dame. Fava, an honorable All-America selection as a senior at Garrison Forest High School, explained that she did not come to Cornell to watch from the bench.
“Adjusting to the pace of the game after having sat on the sidelines last year was tough since you kind of forget how fast the game is and how well people shoot,” said Fava. “But this was something I really wanted before Ashley quit. I wanted to play and I wanted to start.”
The sophomore from Timonium, M.D., has settled into her role as the Red’s No. 1 keeper while facing the eighth most difficult schedule in Division I. Head coach Jenny Graap ’86 had glowing reviews for the way Fava has stepped up during the season, but still sees room for improvement.
“Early on, when she was in the cage against some really tough, top teams, she was saving in the 40 percent range,” said Graap. “I think we need her to save in the 50 percent range for us to climb back into the power rankings.”
Following her first career start, an 11-9 loss to Hofstra in which she recorded seven saves, Fava registered consecutive career performances, stopping 10 and 12 shots against Rutgers and Vanderbilt, respectively. Fava singled out the 8-6 triumph over Rutgers as her season highlight.
“The whole team played well together in that game,” Fava said. “I was able to feed off that and they were able to feed off me coming up with a lot of saves.” At 5-4, Fava may seem dwarfed by the six foot-by-six foot goal frame. However, using quickness and aggressiveness, she has been able to make up for the open space. Noting Fava’s interception and ground ball in last Friday’s Brown game, Graap expounded on her keeper’s increasing assertiveness.
“She’s starting to get a little more comfortable in coming out of the crease,” Graap said. “That’ll be a big bonus for her as she matures.”
Aside from inspiring mounting confidence from her coach, Fava has also been garnering praise from her teammates.
“As a defender, I love playing in front of her because she’s active and vocal, and that really makes her a part of the defense,” said junior Danielle Friedman. “Maggie also allows all of us to take more risks because of the confidence we have in her as our last line of defense.”
Fava recognizes that she is a key part to a young squad, and she has taken the Red’s struggle for wins in stride. In addition to focusing on improvements every game, Fava maintains a sense of humor and a grounded perspective.
“My philosophy is not taking anything too seriously,” Fava said. “I just go out there to have fun, and I try not to get too worked up. Lacrosse is a really high-scoring game and shots are going to go in. Keeping a level head about yourself is the most important thing.”
Archived article by Dan Schiff
Sun Staff Writer