When Meghan Clothier stepped into net against the Niagara Purple Eagles, she couldn’t help but have a few nerves. Not only was it her first collegiate start, but it was her first start, at any level, in three years.
“I wanted this opportunity bad,” Clothier said. “And I was afraid I was going to not do as well as I could do. Mess it up or not help the team win.”
After serving as a backup at two different universities for three years, Clothier received her first collegiate start and win against Niagara on Feb. 16.
“It brought me back to my sophomore year, in high school, when I started my first game, and I was a nervous wreck,” Clothier said.
In her time at Maryvale Preparatory School, Clothier played soccer and basketball, but found a special connection to the game of lacrosse. Playing every minute during her three-year career as the Maryvale goalie, Clothier was a two time defensive MVP and named to the All-Baltimore County team.
“I played lacrosse starting in second grade and became a goalie in sixth grade. I just fell in love with it. I played everything since I was little, but…for some reason I love it just a little bit more,” Clothier said.
During her junior year at Maryvale Preparatory School, in Baltimore, Md., Clothier began looking at universities.
“I always wanted to get out of the state,” Clothier said, “My family is originally from Philadelphia. We actually moved when I was five. My entire family is still up here. So, I’ve always loved Philly.”
Due to her ties to Philadelphia, Clothier showed a large interest in local schools like Drexel, Villanova and Temple, but none of the Philadelphia schools initially panned out.
After weighing her choices, Clothier decided to attend George Mason in Virginia.
“George Mason was the last one still there with me,” Clothier said. “It had the best opportunity for me to play lacrosse and I always wanted a school with good sports tradition.”
In 2010, her freshman year at George Mason, Clothier was the third-string goalie and didn’t see any playing time. With a combination of nonexistent playing time and other personal reasons, Clothier decided to transfer.
“It just wasn’t there for me, and lacrosse wasn’t making it much more worth it, for me to stay and sacrifice the things I wanted the most,” Clothier said.
After conversations with friends from the Philadelphia area, Clothier took another look at Temple.
“I started talking to [coach Bonnie Rosen], during the summer. I met with her one day. After being on campus and talking to her, I was sold,” Clothier said.
In 2011 and 2012, Clothier had an opportunity to compete for the starting job, but during her first two seasons with the Owls, Clothier’s total of 143 minutes were in a backup role.
“It was definitely a tough adjustment. I just tried to find ways to stay connected. I tried to practice as best as I could, to help the team,” Clothier said. “I’m a goalie. I’m a competitor. I always want to start every game, but I understood.”
“On the sideline, I used to get connected to the people on the field. It was hard, but I ultimately wanted to win, and they thought the best chance we had was with the goalie that we had, and I supported her,” Clothier added.
After the departure of the previous starter, Clothier entered the 2013 season with another battle for the starting goalie spot. Clothier is the longest-tenured goalie, being the lone senior.
“I don’t expect anything. I’ve been hoping for it that past two years and didn’t get it, so I came with the same mentality that I’m just going to work hard and do my best and hope that’s good enough,” Clothier said.
At Friday’s practice before the season opener against Niagara, Clothier was officially named the starting goalie.
“It was a little surreal,” Clothier said. “I’ve envisioned this, wanted this for four years. I’ve wanted to play college lacrosse since seventh grade. This has been my dream for so long.”
Clothier played the first period and recorded three saves in her 30 minutes played. Temple defeated Niagara 18-5 and Clothier received her first win as an Owl.
“It was unbelievable,” Clothier said. “It was such a good team effort and it was wonderful to be a part of.”
Since Clothier’s start against Niagara, she has played a full game against Rutgers and the first half against Lehigh. To begin the 2013 season, in 120 minutes played, Clothier has record 11 saves, 11 goals allowed, and a 3-0 record.
Brien Edwards can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @BErick1123.