On today’s episode of the Lax Goalie Rat Podcast, I’m thrilled to be joined by Kat Buchanan, a current Athletes Unlimited goalie and former standout with the James Madison University Dukes.
Kat has just wrapped up a whirlwind summer, where she not only completed her rookie year as a professional lacrosse player with AU but also concluded her college career at JMU, leading her team to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Buchanan’s journey to AU was a unique one, as she went undrafted but after receiving an unexpected email in late May, offering her a chance to play she decided to seize the opportunity to keep playing lacrosse.
Despite limited playing time in her first season, Kat managed to amass an impressive 692 points in 12 games, boasting a .750 save percentage.
Kat’s foray into goaltending began at a young age when she took her turn in the goalie rotation. The position came naturally to her, and she preferred guarding the net to running as an attacker. Kat’s background in baseball honed her hand-eye coordination, making her transition to lacrosse goalie even smoother.
She refined her skills by dedicating countless hours to watching YouTube tutorials and studying men’s lacrosse goalies, observing their movements and techniques, and applying that to her game.
Originally aspiring to play college hockey, Kat redirected her focus to lacrosse when the prospect of Division I hockey didn’t materialize.
She joined a club lacrosse team during her junior year, created a highlight reel, and sent it to various schools. JMU responded to her emails, recognizing their need for a goalie they offered her a spot on their team.
Kat committed to the Dukes during her senior year and joined a team fresh off a National Championship victory.
Very excited to announce the signing of goalkeeper Kat Buchanan to a NLI! Kat hails from Milton, Mass., and plays her club lacrosse for Laxachusetts Green. She recorded a 55% save percentage as a junior. #GoDukes#DDPpic.twitter.com/Cs9z3i4254
Kat’s path to being the starter with the Dukes was paved with patience, as she spent her initial four seasons at JMU as a backup to the formidable Molly Dougherty, a JMU alum, National Champion, and Athletes Unlimited goalie.
Buchanan patiently bided her time, seeing limited minutes until 2023 when she finally seized her opportunity to become the starting goalie. On the podcast, Kat discusses her experiences as a backup and the early challenges she faced before fully embracing her role on the team.
In 2023, Kat finally burst onto the scene, propelling the Dukes to a phenomenal season with two upset victories over Maryland and leading her team to the AAC Championship final and a quarterfinal berth in the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to Syracuse.
Kat was a stalwart in goal, amassing an impressive 149 saves with a .473% save percentage and a mere 8.08 goals-against average. Her remarkable performance ranked her fourth in Division I in GAA and twentieth in save percentage, with JMU boasting the third-best defense nationally, allowing just 7.86 goals per game.
I hope you enjoy this episode with Kat where we discuss topics like how to scout shooters, tips for being a backup, and the mental game.
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.
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