Field Hockey senior forward Emily McNamara concluded a standout tenure with the Rams this season prior to her December graduation, racking up 75 goals in 74 games while tallying 422 shots and 177 points. McNamara is the nation’s leading scorer this season with 27 goals.
Field Hockey’s season ended Nov. 3 with a 1-0 loss to Saint Joseph’s in the Atlantic 10 Championship game.
“I had to play a part in the team if we wanted to be successful,” the Centreville, Virginia native, Mcnamara said. “I just told myself that I need to get better every year for the other people out on the field. I put all my devotion into it.”
McNamara became VCU’s all-time leading scorer in the 2018 season.
“It’s kind of amazing, actually,” McNamara said of her accomplishments. “After this, field hockey is over for me, so I won’t be able to enjoy this anymore. But when I was recruited here, they wanted me to have a prominent role.”
That role expanded gradually over the years until the forward was one of the team’s leading threats on the field.
In 2018, McNamara started all 19 games for the Rams. She had 109 shots over the course of the schedule, 69 on goal, while averaging a .248 shooting percentage. McNamara said the team really came together before the season and that carried over into the performance throughout the campaign.
“In preseason we hung out all the time, trying to build that chemistry and translate it into field hockey,” she said. “I think we did really well with it.”
That chemistry shined through with the team’s 12-6 record. Field Hockey went through evolutions over the course of McNamara’s career — including a coaching change — but numerous players have stepped up to round out the roster.
McNamara says she met one of her best friends through the team, sophomore midfielder Maite Sturm, who hails from Waltrop, Germany.
“She’s one of the greatest field hockey players I have ever seen and I have learned so much from her,” McNamara said. “One of the most fun things is playing alongside her and learning from her.”
McNamara, a broadcast journalism major, hopes to stay in the sports world after graduating. Having been involved or connected with sports in one way or another her entire life, McNamara is an avid baseball and basketball fan. She aims to pursue a career in the athletic world, whether in front of or behind the camera, online or even in a coaching role.
With only four seniors and one graduate student on the team, McNamara stressed the importance of supporting each other and relying on one another during the ups and downs of the season.
“None of us would be here if it wasn’t for each other,” she said.
McNamara also elaborated on the team’s peaks and valleys throughout the season, emphasizing how crucial each game is and the importance of mental preparation.
“We started off strong.. Then we hit kind of a plateau that went down, and then we got back up,” McNamara said. “If we were there that day and we were on, we dominated. But if we weren’t there mentally, you could tell.”
The win over UMass in the A-10 Tournament semifinal on Friday proved her point, as the Rams improved to 8-1 in conference play, including postseason.
“We saw things were getting tight in the conference, so we turned it up a notch,” McNamara said. “We hit a stride, and we’re in it right now.”
McNamara reflected on what the sport has meant to her during her time at VCU, both as motivation for and a getaway from everyday life.
“Field hockey has literally been my escape from everything. Whether I’m mad at anything … I always had field hockey,” she said. “That was always going to be there. I love the sport, I love it. I don’t think anything will ever match up like that.”
The forward also hopes to leave a lasting legacy as a role model and inspiration.
“I really hope that, for at least the teammates I played with … of all ages, they remember me as being one of the best at what I do,” McNamara said. “I understand that next year someone’s going to come in, but I hope I cross their minds when they need a goal, and they’re like ‘I wish Emily was here.’”