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Twice the Terror

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Courtesy of Clare Lochary, Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff

Princeton seems languid and slow today. It's the dead week between the end of summer session and the start of freshman orientation, so the campus lacks its usual frisson of youthful energy. Its big Gothic buildings stand empty, like dinosaurs glumly basking in the muggy New Jersey sun. Inside Jadwin Gym, you can see and almost hear the dust rising off the newly refurbished basketball court.

Contrast this late summer lethargy with the coiled energy of Holly McGarvie, a senior and two-sport standout for the Tigers' field hockey and lacrosse teams. Midway through field hockey two-a-days, she should by all rights be sprawled out on her dorm room bed, taking a well-deserved nap. Or at least getting fidgety, as most athletes do when they are made to sit still for a long time, especially in tandem with a reporter's annoying questions.

But not McGarvie. She sits in the upper deck of the stadium with perfect posture, squinting her blue eyes pensively before giving each question a deliberate, thoughtful answer. For example, her favorite moment of a lacrosse game isn't just picking off a pass or getting a fast break.

"I love -- this is pretty particular -- when it's team D, and you send two to the double, and she's passing out of the double, and a girl gets an interception, and she's bolting down the field and it's a 5-on-4 going on your offensive end," says McGarvie.

McGarvie doesn't do anything halfway. She has intensity to spare.

"The thing that you know about Holly as soon as you see her play, the kid is as tough as nails," says Princeton head lacrosse coach Chris Sailer. "She'd run over her mother to get the ball. There's no quit in her."

Kristen Holmes-Winn, the Tigers' head field hockey coach, agrees.

"I get goose bumps when I think about her playing," says Holmes-Winn, smiling and extending a tanned arm with the physical evidence of how exciting McGarvie can be. Hard as it is to imagine, McGarvie began her athletic career as an elementary school cheerleader, a point of much derision from her college teammates. (Less surprisingly, she really wanted to play football.)

After she hung up her pom-poms, she discovered field hockey and lacrosse in seventh grade. In eighth grade, she grandly announced to her parents that she wanted to go to Princeton and play both sports.

When she leapt onto the athletic scene at Shawnee (N.J.) High School, it became apparent that her childhood ambition was more than a pipe dream.

The complete article on McGarvie can be found in the online version of Lacrosse Magazine.

- A.S.