Kate Goodwin has a lot to celebrate these days.
She just graduated from Fox Chapel Area High School and has a promising future ahead of her at Lehigh University, where she was recruited to play on its NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse team.
But what she leaves behind is also pretty impressive. This spring, she set a new school record for career goals at 265. She also became the Foxes’ second leading all-time scorer (goals plus assists) behind Meg McCrady, who graduated last year and now plays lacrosse for Georgetown University.
In addition, during her high school athletic career, Kate was named an All-American and voted to the All-WPIAL and all-section teams twice. A dual sport athlete, she also played a role in the Foxes’ girls’ soccer team’s three consecutive section championships and subsequent appearances at the WPIAL playoffs.
“Kate has proven that she’s an extremely self-driven athlete who knows what goals she wants to achieve in order to succeed,” says the district’s athletic director Mike O’Brien, whom Kate worked for this past semester as a student intern.
Ironically, her rise to a star lacrosse player had a very dubious start.
A Late Start
Kate didn’t even start to play lacrosse until right before high school and it certainly wasn’t love at first pass.
“My father played lacrosse in college and had asked me and my older brothers if we wanted to play, but we really didn’t have an interest,” she says while laughing. “I finally agreed and I remember the first practice I ever went to and just hated it. I thought, ‘This is the dumbest sport ever.’”
She obviously got past those initial feelings, which she says were probably driven by frustration because, “It’s a lot harder than it looks.” With barely any experience, Kate tried out for the high school team. She readily admits she was really rough around the edges.
“I was just hoping to make the team,” says Kate, who is known for her athleticism. “I remember talking to one of the older girls and telling her that I just hoped I would make the team. Then, I found out I made varsity, and then I was named a starter. It was a big surprise to me, but I started to think that maybe the coaches saw something in me that I didn’t. Jen McCrady (former team coach) and Katie Lundberg (coach for the past two seasons) really taught me just about everything I know.”
Kate recalls her first year on the team as one when she hoped she’d never have to touch the ball.
“I was really timid as a freshman,” Kate says. “I mean, I was happy to help in any way I could, but didn’t know how I could possibly do that. I would actually run away from the ball, scared to death the whole time that I’d have to do something. But now when I look back, I’m really glad I didn’t start to play earlier because unlike some other players, I’m not burned out at all and I still love to play.”
Making Up for Lost Time
Since those early days, Kate has made up for lost time with lightening speed. In both her junior and senior years, Kate scored more than 100 goals each season. The first time she hit 100, she says it was thrilling, and she set a person goal to hit that number again in her senior year. But her main focus, she stresses, was more on becoming a strong, solid leader. So much so, that Kate didn’t even realize until the season was over that she had earned that magical number again, and even more.
Hard Work Pays Off
All the while, Kate was honing her skills by playing on a premiere travel team and attending summer camps hosted by college coaches. How she settled on Lehigh is also an ironic story.
“It’s actually a funny story about how everything happened,” Kate says of her eventual scholarship offer. “I was at a lacrosse camp at Cornell University, and at the time, I really wanted to go there. There was a Lehigh coach on the camp staff and she noticed me and picked me for her team. She told me that she could see I had a lot of athleticism and was a hard worker. She reached out to my club team coaches before my junior year before she could recruit me directly, and through them, invited me to visit the Lehigh campus.”
She readily admits that the university wasn’t one of her top choices at the time. But she made a surprise reversal when she visited the school.
“In all honesty, I didn’t really like Cornell’s campus, but I loved Lehigh and immediately knew this is where I want to be,” she says. “I like the coaches and it’s an up-and-coming team whose players don’t give up if they face challenges.”
Kate just received her workout packet from her coaches, but the expectations aren’t flustering her at all.
“I keep a rigorous training schedule on my own anyway and am very disciplined,” she says. “Over the summer I really want to work on my footwork and speed to become more explosive.”
Coach Katie Lundberg has no doubts that Kate will continue to succeed as a Lehigh Hawk.
“Kate has phenomenal skills and athleticism and just keeps getting better and better each year,” says Coach Lunberg. “Her amazing growth over her career at Fox Chapel Area is one that will leave a legacy for those that come after her. She is the epitome of what hard work and dedication can do. I am so proud of her development as not only an athlete, but as a leader, and I look forward to watching her continue to improve and create a new legacy as she pursues her lacrosse career at the D-I collegiate level.”