Nov. 3, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — University of Notre Dame junior defender Ginny McGowan is in her first season as a starting center back for the Irish, anchoring and Irish defense that has been one of the best in a recent string of stingy units. A key reserve during her first two seasons with the Irish, McGowan has developed into one of the most formidable defenders in the Atlantic Coast Conference, most recently helping the Irish clinch a share of their first ACC regular-season championship. This week, she was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week on Tuesday after helping lead the Irish to a pair of shutouts in the season finale against Miami (2-0) and the ACC tournament quarterfinal against NC State (1-0). She took time out of her busy schedule shutting down offenses for the latest installment of “Ten Questions.”
Ten Questions With Ginny McGowan
1. What is your favorite Notre Dame memory?
I would say after the Miami game (October 27) was definitely my favorite thing soccerwise so far. Just finding out we clinched the regular-season title and being able to celebrate on the field with everyone was really cool.
2. What’s that feeling like when you realize you win an ACC championship?
The way we found out, it was one person found out and then another and then everyone at once, so it was all a lot at the same time. It was kind of surreal because so many things had to go our way for that to happen (Note: both Duke and Florida State had to lose for the Irish to clinch a share of the title). Going into the game, we knew we were playing for home-field advantage (in the ACC quarterfinal), but we didn’t really think we were playing for the ACC Championship. When we found out, we were super excited because it was a whole season’s worth of work that we knew just paid off.
3. What is your funniest soccer memory?
I would say my funniest soccer memory is just every time we have a game, the team dances in the locker room and just being very entertaining. It’s usually just Ann Marie Niro and TK (Taylor Klawunder) that are the only ones dancing, but it’s a lot of fun to watch them.
4. Where does your nickname, “Gilly,” come from?
Before I came to Notre Dame my freshman year, I played on this team over the summer and one of the girls that played with me was (former Notre Dame teammate) Sammy Scofield, who was a senior at the time I was a freshman. So when I got to Notre Dame, she started calling me Gilly on the summer team and it continued through when I got there. But there have been many variations. Sometimes they’ll call me Phil or William or Gill. There’s just a lot of different ones that come from it, but Gilly is the main one.
5. Who is your funniest teammate?
I would say the funniest teammate is Katie Uhler. Anne Marie Niro, too, but she doesn’t know she’s being funny.
7. Do you have a pre-game ritual?
Not really. The only thing I would say for a pre-game ritual is that we have this doll in the locker room and I like to put her out on the floor. Her name is Raelynn and she’s kind of our team mascot.
8. Do you have a pump up song?
Not one that I listened to for every game, but (laughs) I really love “Shipping Up To Boston.” I actually really do like that song and it pumps me up. They play that when we say the “Our Father” before the game.
9. Do you have a soccer role model?
My favorite player is Ivan Rakitić from FC Barcelona, but he’s not my position at all. I just like Barcelona as a whole; they’re my team. Their style of play is really fun to watch and they have the best player in the world with Lionel Messi, so I really like watching him play and they win a lot, so it’s not a hard team to be a fan of.
10. If you could spend a day doing anything, what would you do?
I would spend it walking around Paris. It’s my favorite place in the world. I would probably just walk around, hit up a couple boutiques and a cafe; go to the Eiffel Tower; have a baguette.