Junior field hockey player Maddie Kahn has been named to the U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team, making her the first Lehigh field hockey athlete to receive this recognition.
Kahn is also the only Patriot League athlete on the roster.
“I was excited,” Kahn said. “I have been in the USA pipeline for quite some time, so I am pretty familiar with it and how it works, but it is always exciting to receive an email that has good news.”
Kahn has been involved with USA field hockey since her sophomore year of high school when she joined the under-17 team, remained there her junior year, and then joined the under-19 team her senior year.
Along with Lehigh’s team, Kahn plays for the WC Eagles, a field hockey club located in Chester County, Pennsylvania, which has produced several National Team field hockey players.
“It’s an insane amount of talent that has come out of this club,” Kahn said.
Three of Kahn’s teammates from the WC Eagles—Duke University’s Hannah Miller, University of Maryland’s Rayne Wright and Boston University’s Caroline Kelly—will be joining her on the U-21 team.
Kelly is one of the first friends Kahn made when she joined the Eagles club.
“I think we work really well together, so it is really exciting that we will be back together,” Kahn said. “We both have a similar style and mindset and know how to have fun and mess around.”
Kahn, who is a goalie for Lehigh, gave up only 42 goals totalling a 75.1 percent save average during her freshman season. Her 127 saves during the season was the second highest in the Patriot League, behind Holy Cross’ Marcia LaPlante, who saved 151 shots.
In her junior year campaign, she cut her goals allowed down by 10, improving her goals-against-average from 2.34 to 2.06.
Kahn said her improvement was due to working hard in out-of-practice hours and in private coaching sessions.
Junior Sarah Bonthuis, Kahn’s teammate and roommate, said she was incredibly proud to see her receive this honor. As members of the same recruiting class, Bonthuis has seen Kahn grow into the player she is now.
“Even after that first season, everyone trusted her and saw how good she was,” Bonthuis said. “I saw her grow everyday since freshman year, and right now even though it was only two years—it’s incomparable. I see someone in the goal who is so confident and strong and knows exactly what to do. She is an amazing leader and a great voice.”
Lehigh Coach Caitlin Dallmeyer said she is excited for Kahn and is proud of the opportunities she has created for herself. Dallmeyer said that while Kahn’s recognition is an individual one, it reflects well upon both Kahn and the Lehigh program.
“I think it is a huge honor to represent your country in any sport, and Maddie (Kahn) definitely has worked hard to be able to receive this honor so it is deserving,” Dallmeyer said.
Because Kahn is the first Mountain Hawk to make the U-21 team, Dallmeyer said she has set a high standard for players that come after her.
When speaking on her own improvements, Kahn said her progress has been incremental and big changes don’t occur all at once.
“Getting one percent better each day is better than not progressing at all,” Kahn said. “These tiny steps add up. I don’t think if I went back to middle school and told myself I would be at this point at a Division 1 school, in the USA pipeline and on a USA team, that I would believe myself.”
Kahn has joined her teammates for the first of two training camps in California. The team will train throughout the year in preparation for the Junior Pan American Championship which will begin in November in Santiago, Chile.