CHATHAM, NJ - Emily Buckman's goal this season is to catch the eye of college recruiters and earn a field hockey scholarship.

The Chatham junior is off to a good start since she's already being compared to previous Chatham goalies who have gone on to play in college.

"We've had college-level goalies - Sarah Shannon and Kimmy Pyhel - and she's right up there with them," Chatham field hockey coach Jeremy Heinze said.  "She's fantastic."

Sign Up for E-News

In Chatham's 3-0 start to the season, Buckman has saved 48 of the 50 shots she's faced for an incredible save percentage of 96 percent. 

Buckman is the TAP Chatham Athlete of the Week.

"She is, by far, one of the best goalies I've seen," Heinze said. "Not just in Chatham, but in the county over the last four or five years. The good thing about her is that she makes every save you're supposed to make. There are no cheap goals and then she makes at least four or five outstanding plays a game, whether it's a dive or a slide. That's natural ability. She trains hard, but she has a gift to be a goalie."

Buckman is a three-sport athlete at Chatham High - field hockey, swimming, lacrosse - but she has taken to field hockey ever since she volunteered for the position at camp before she entered eighth grade.

'In every aspect of my life, I do better under pressure," Buckman said. "Schoolwork, sports, everything. I just do better when I'm under pressure. I don't know why. I just do. In a way, I'm like the captain of the defense. I tell them where to go because I can see the whole field better than anyone else. I like being in control back there."
Buckman was at her best on Saturday during a 2-1 victory at Montville, where she made 21 saves. Buckman displayed her versatility by smothering a breakaway attempt with a slide tackle, making a glove save on a high shot and a block with her stick during a rapid-fire sequence.
"I went to five or six college camps over the summer and there was a lot of one-on-one with the coaches, so I learned a lot," Buckman said of her new slide tackle. "I feel like I carried my new skills into preseason because I kept practicing and practicing them."
In addition to being the anchor of the Chatham defense, Buckman also has received credit for sparking the offense.

"She comes out and clears it to the side and someone is always there, so she pretty much starts our attack," Chatham winger Emily Wingate said. 

Emily Buckman talks about why she loves to play goalie for the Chatham field hockey team