Goalie Spotlight: Kiley Keating, Towson

Kiley Keating is entering her junior year at Towson University majoring in exercise science. After starting in all 21 games in 2018, she was named All-CAA First Team and IWLCA Mid-Atlantic Region First Team. She led the CAA with a .474 save percentage and helped tie the school record for wins in a season.

Kiley is from Ashton, MD and a graduate of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School where she was a three year starter and she set the school record for most saves in a single season. She helped the team capture the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) championship twice and was named a Nike Elite 120 goalie.

Keep reading to learn from Kiley.

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How long have you been playing goalie/lacrosse?

I’ve been a goalie for about 7 or 8 years.  

What drew you to the position?

My team didn’t have a goalie and the coach asked if anyone would like to try it; I did and I loved it.

What’s your favorite part about playing the position now?

I love everything about this position. I love how it challenges me and how there is always something to work on or get better at. But, I think my favorite part is that there is nothing like the excitement and adrenaline rush you get when you come up with a save (especially against a good team). 

In close games how do you stay focused?

In the games where it could go either way, I think it’s a challenge for any player to stay focused on the field. For goalies, it can sometimes seem like the pressure is all on us in these moments. Its important to remember that the pressure isn’t all on the goalie. Yes, it would be great if you came up with the game winning save, but some shots just go in. I think what works best for me is simplifying scenarios like this- all I have to do is watch the ball and wait for the shot – all those days of practice and muscle memory work will kick in and do the rest. But, at the end of the day some shots are just good shots.

Can you discuss any challenges you faced and how you overcame them? (I.e. lack playing time, injury, time management, etc.)

I think most goalies (if you’ve been playing long enough), have had times or seasons when they don’t play or don’t play as much as they’d like to. My freshman year at Towson I didn’t get as much playing time as I would’ve liked. Obviously every goalie wants to be the starter, but I knew that the goalie who was playing had the experience I lacked and was playing very well. All I could do is keep practicing and be ready if and when I got my shot to play. I learned to have a more positive outlook on my situation. My job last year was to learn, improve, and help make my teammates better.

What’s the best part about playing in college? Favorite college lacrosse memory?

The speed of the game. Every game you play immediately gets your adrenaline pumping and every game is a challenge in one way or another. I think any of the big games where we came up with the win (Penn State, Florida, etc.) were my favorite. There’s nothing like hearing the final buzzer at the end of the game and your team storms the field; those are the moments I’ll never forget.

If you committed early, how did you stay motivated to keep getting better? How do you stay motivated now, especially in the off season?

I committed in the winter of my junior year. Committing, for me, was both a motivator and a big confidence boost. I think from that point on I not only wanted to get better to finish off my last two high school seasons well, but also to be as ready as I could be for my freshman year. I stay motivated in the off season because I truly believe I can always improve. I’m never satisfied with my performance; it can always be better.

Do you have a favorite drill or one that has helped you the most in goal, with and without someone else?

I have a lot of favorite drills (such as the different positions drill you might see me do with my coach right before stick check at games). But I have found that the ones that have helped improve my game the most are the “not so fun” ones- the muscle memory drills.

Where do you think you have grown the most in your game from high school to college and how did you do it? Did you have an individual goalie coach to help? 

I think in high school I relied mainly on the quickness of my hands so my goalie coach had his work cut out for him when I got to Towson. I think especially this year I’ve tried to do a better job of moving my entire body to the ball. Coach Molster is the best goalie coach I’ve ever worked with, so all the credit of how much my game has changed goes to him.

Something you could tell yourself now when you were first learning the position?

Watch the ball and wait for the shot. Watching the ball seems like a given, but for the longest time I watched the stick or the shooter’s shoulders. The other thing is waiting for the shot- I think its easy for goalies to get in the habit of reacting to the stick or to the shoulders moving (subconsciously looking for advantages), but what has helped me immensely is waiting for the ball to release from the stick and then reacting.

Pre-game ritual?

At the beginning of the season, everyone on our team picks their game hair and it stays that way for the whole season. I have Sami Chenoweth french braid my hair before every game and it can only be Sam. I also re-tape my stick before every game.

Anything else you think young goalies would find helpful or interested in knowing? 

The most important thing to remember is that shots are going to go in; you just have to have a short term memory.