Minium: Cam MacGillivray can wield a field hockey stick and paintbrush with equal skill

By Harry Minium

NORFOLK, Virginia – Cam MacGillivray had his entire college career mapped out before starting his senior year of field hockey at Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary, Alberta.

She had signed up to play for a Canadian university, and she was clearly a player to be coveted. She was a member of the Canadian Junior National Team, was Female Athlete of the Year in her final three years at Bishop Carroll, and has always been an honorary student.

But then the college she had chosen announced that it was quitting field hockey, leaving her to scramble to find a place to play.

Her search will lead her to Old Dominion University, more than 2,500 miles from her home, where MacGillivray became a mainstay of the Monarchs’ goalscoring.

“I’m so glad I came to Old Dominion,” she said. “It’s so far from my family, but it’s become my second home.”

MacGillivray was a part-time starter in 2018 and has been ODU’s starter for the past four seasons — like all NCAA athletes, she received an extra year of eligibility due to the pandemic.

She has a career goals-against-average of 1.40 and ODU has won 46 of the 65 games she has been in goal. The Monarchs (11-2 overall, 4-1 Big East Conference) travel Friday to the Hall of Enemy Big East before wrapping up the regular season at home Sunday against VCU and then hosting Liberty on Thursday, Oct. 28.

MacGillivray’s sixth season at ODU – she wore a red shirt as a freshman – has been her best so far. She was twice named Big East Defensive Player of the Week and has a 0.92 goals-against average, which leads the Big East and is in the Top 10 nationally.

“I would take Cam over anyone else, and that’s partly because of who she is,” ODU coach Andrew Griffiths said.

“She’s just a humble and hardworking person. She has high standards for herself and she’s always been a very positive person.”

MacGillivray came to ODU because of a chance conversation she had with Peter Taylor, then head coach of the University of Calgary, which had a major club field hockey program for the Calgary area. Taylor knew Griffiths and also knew the Monarchs were looking for a good goaltender, and the rest is history.

A native of Australia who played and coached extensively in the Netherlands, Taylor came to ODU as an assistant coach in 2019 and helped recruit several field hockey stars from Holland and Belgium.

MacGillivray struggled his first season at ODU. She was a freshman three time zones away from home living in a foreign country where the language is pretty much the same, but there are also cultural differences.

FH - MacGillivray

It was the first time in her career that she did not play.

“It was tough,” she says. “I wasn’t playing and I was homesick. I relied on my teammates for support, and they really helped me.

“I’m the only one left of my (recruitment class) but I’m so close to a few of them. Their families basically adopted me.”

MacGillivray said she’s always liked the close-knit culture of ODU’s field hockey program, but said this team is particularly close. And so far the team has been particularly successful.

After dropping a disappointing overtime loss at William & Mary, the Monarchs won 11 of the next 12 games. The only loss, in overtime to UConn, was a game ODU dominated but just couldn’t put the ball in the net. ODU has since won six in a row.

“This year has been a fun experience,” she said. “Over the years we have had ups and downs.

?Cam MacGillivray

“But this team connected really well. We had key players that we kept, and others came here from other universities.

“We’re like family this season. It’s such a tight-knit team. Everyone is there for each other. We want to play for each other.”

MacGillivray’s talents extend beyond the grass. She is a talented artist who will graduate in graphic design with a minor in general arts.

His online portfolio is diverse, with photography and sculpture mixed with painting and, of course, graphic design.

Cam MacGillivray’s art portfolio

She likes to be creative but unlike many artists, she prefers realism to abstraction. She loves taking pictures and then imitating them on canvas or paper.

Cam Mac Art

But that doesn’t mean she’s not creative.

Once, on a long bus trip, she “simpsonized” every coach and player on the team, making them all look like one of the Simpsons from the Fox TV show.

Griffiths’ “simpsonized” drawing is on his office wall.

“She’s pretty good,” Griffiths said. “His art is very impressive.”

MacGillivray said art is a passion.

Cam Mac Art

“I love to paint in my free time,” she said. “I love to draw. I always doodle in class no matter what.

“I almost always do something with art. It’s something I love to do and I’m so happy to do something in art in my career.”

After six years of university, she is eager to enter the working world. But first she has goals to accomplish.

She wants to help ODU win the Big East tournament, which will be held at ODU on November 4 (semi-finals) and November 6 (league game) and return to Canada and play for the national team.

Cam Mac Art

“ODU was my life for six years,” she said. “So I talked to my mom a lot about what I want to do next. I’m thinking about teaching art.

“But one of my dreams is to play for the Canadian national team. I still love field hockey too much to give it up right away.

“When the time comes, it will be hard to leave ODU. It’s been such a big part of my life. My teammates and coaches, all the memories I’ve made here will always mean so much to me.”

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