‘Believe in myself’: Two graduating student-athletes reflect on time at GW

Media Credit: File Photo by Grace Hromin | Assistant Photo Editor

Megan McCormick, a redshirt senior defender, leaves GW with 74 starts and about 5,000 minutes of play under her belt.

Graduate student forward Alexandra Maund and redshirt senior defender Megan McCormick were fixtures on the court and field this season.

Maund led women’s basketball in scoring with 11.1 points per game, and McCormick wrapped up her tenure on the women’s soccer team as captain of the backline and with a trip to the Atlantic 10 Championship. The duo, who are set to graduate this year, said they have grown into better leaders during their tenure as student-athletes.

“Knowing that I can’t just let other people have faith in me to play, I have to have faith in myself,” Maund said. “I think these coaches gave that to me.”

After beginning her three-year playing career at Yale sidelined with a season-ending injury, Maund transferred to GW for her final season of collegiate basketball.

Head coach Jennifer Rizzotti expected Maund to provide valuable guidance and experience to a young team. She finished the year ranking third in the A-10 with a .504 field goal percentage.

Maund improved from her time at Yale, averaging 3.7 points per game throughout her three seasons with the Bulldogs. At GW, Maund said she found the passion for the game she’d been looking for since her injury.

“Every year, I would try and get back to how I felt before my injury and focus on that year versus on playing my game, and just seeing what came out of it,” Maund said. “This year a mindset shifted for me.”

Maund added that Rizzotti and her coaching staff helped her find confidence and achieve her true potential on the court.

“Their belief in me showed me I have no reason to not believe in myself,” Maund said. “This year meant a lot to me because I felt like I was finally playing the way I always knew I could play.”

Along with her offensive production, Maund’s experience and style solidified GW’s defensive approach. Under her tutelage, the Colonials’ post play made significant strides, scoring 57.2 percent of the team’s overall points. Maund said she took pride in showing underclassmen post players the ropes and teaching them how valuable a post player can be on offense and defense.

“It can be hard as a post player to figure out how to make an impact on the court because you don’t really touch the ball,” Maund said. “Showing our teammates they can trust us and that throwing the ball into the post isn’t a waste of a pass or a waste of time was really important to me.”

Maund’s production proved invaluable after junior guard Neila Luma suffered a season-ending knee injury in late November. Despite the loss of one of the squad’s top scorers and rebounders, GW ended the season with a 14-16 record, an improvement from its 10-20 showing the previous year.

Spending five seasons with the women’s soccer program, McCormick had more time to build her legacy at GW. After redshirting her freshman year, she spent four years boosting GW’s backline into one of the best in the A-10.

“The coaching staff that was here previously sat me down and thought that I would be a better asset to the team if I sat out and gained some experience and technical skills and just learned a little bit more about how to be a college soccer player,” McCormick said.

While she admitted the decision to redshirt was difficult, McCormick said it was key in her development as a player. Throughout the following four seasons, McCormick, a three-year captain, would log 74 starts and nearly 5,000 minutes for the Colonials.

She said observing a strong defense from the sidelines helped set a standard she maintained over the course of her career.

“My freshman year, I got to watch a really solid backline and they were all upperclassmen and leaders so it was really cool for me to see those girls in that role and learn from afar,” McCormick said.

She helped return the Colonials to the A-10 Championship game for the first time since 1997, later earning First Team All-Conference and All-Championship nods. The defender ranked fourth on the team with 10 points off 13 shots during her final season.

Beyond her stat line, McCormick said she invested in her teammates and shared her knowledge with the rest of the backline. Under her leadership, GW ranked No. 4 in the A-10 with only 1.19 goals allowed per game in 2019.

“I remember being a freshman and the upperclassmen and seniors would kind of take me back and tell me how to do better,” McCormick said. “That’s something I tried to emulate.”

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