Field Hockey: Goalkeeper Maddy Carpenter is stopping goals and taking names

Mike Marut, Reporter

Senior goalkeeper and team captain Maddy Carpenter stands as one of the best goalies in Northwestern field hockey history, holding the sixth most shutouts in program history.

The Daily spoke to Carpenter on Tuesday, hours after the Big Ten announced her second consecutive conference Defensive Player of the Week award.

The Daily: How did you get to this point in your career? Two Defensive Player of the Week awards in a row and a team leader on the defense?

Maddy Carpenter: It’s been a long career so far for me. It’s bizarre to think in six weeks it’s going to be over. I feel the best I’ve ever felt, really, strongest I’ve ever felt. I’m the most poised I’ve ever been. As a senior obviously you have more knowledge, so you’re not really seeing a lot of new things on the field. A lot of repetition has definitely helped. I have such a strong defense to work with, I’m getting the shots I want. It’s been really easy.

The Daily: How did you first get into field hockey?

Carpenter: I was a soccer goalie to begin with back in fifth grade or so. I had a family friend who said, “Hey, if you want to play sports in college, you should play field hockey,” and I was like, “What’s field hockey?” and they said, “If you don’t want to play with a stick, you can be a goalie and kick (the ball)” and I was like, “Oh! Sounds great because I was used to kicking it, so that’s perfect.”

So I started with clubs right away, so I was on the synthetic turf and things like that, saw the fastest game that was possible. I’m from Massachusetts, so I was able to see UMass play and that’s kind of what kept me going because I was like, “Okay, there’s field hockey outside of eighth grade where the grass isn’t six inches tall and water logged,” so I stuck with it.

The Daily: What have been some of the big moments of your career?

Carpenter: Last year’s game against Iowa, when we won in overtime. We were down with one minute left, and we were able to come back and win it. That was a huge win. Really all the Big Ten games stick out because those are the closest, best competition we can play, best games usually. There’s not a weak team in the conference.

The Daily: What about national teams?

Carpenter: I started in the futures program, which is a ten-week program in the winter. Through that program, I was selected to be on the U-17 National Team, from there I went to the U-19 National Team and then I was on the U-21 National Team for a couple of years. I’ve traveled to Uruguay, Chile, England, Ireland, Germany. I’ve played with a lot of people who are on the National Team now, which has been really exciting. I really loved that, but I came to college to learn and get a career afterwards so I’m not pursuing (field hockey).

The Daily: What’s it been like having coach Tracey Fuchs for your college career with her national level experience?

Carpenter I love Tracey Fuchs. I’m honored to be able to play for her. She was actually the U-17 coach when I went to Uruguay for the first time. I really like the way that she coaches, she’s really honest. She’s not a yeller unless you deserve it. That definitely motivates me. She’s also really encouraging. She’s an open book, and she cares for us more than any other coach in the entire country.

The Daily: So have you ever considered coaching?

Carpenter: I’ve considered it a little bit. With all these career fairs and everything coming up I’ve been thinking, “What am I going to do?” I could definitely consider myself coaching a little bit, definitely through grad school. I think that would be neat, but I’m definitely an academic. I’m a total nerd. I really like learning. I really like more than just field hockey, so if I continue with field hockey in the coaching realm, it won’t be my only thing.

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