McGraw earns B1G Defense award for second straight week


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Kathleen McGraw’s goalkeeping clinic Sunday against then-No. 20 Albany earned her Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors for the second-straight week.

The senior, whose nickname is “Merty,” saved 8 shots on Sept. 16 to help lead the now-No.13 Hawkeyes to a 2-1 victory over the Great Danes.

McGraw finished the game with a .889 save percentage, helping Iowa cling to victory against an energetic Albany attack. The Great Danes tallied 15 total shots on goal and garnered 11 penalty corners against the Hawkeyes.

The senior gave a lot of credit to her disciplined defense for helping to convert Albany’s shots into easily saved attempts, but she said receiving the honor felt “pretty good.”

“We did give up a lot defensively, but our defense managed to give me low-angle shots, which is what you want to handle as a goalie,” McGraw told The Daily Iowan.

She also said the defense deserves just as much credit as she does for the award.

Led by senior Geena Lesiak, the Hawkeyes’ backline maintained its poise in the midst of a stifling Great Dane attack, which included persistent penetration and an unusual overhead passing technique.

Head coach Tracey Griesbaum lauded McGraw’s focus and leadership late in the game when the Hawkeyes needed it most.

“The last eight minutes of the game, she really was the one that kept us in it,” the 13-year Iowa coach said. “She was like our anchor and definitely deserving.”

This is the third time McGraw has received the award in her Hawkeye career. She shared this week’s award with Indiana goalkeeper Maggie Olson.

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