Former Women's Soccer Standout Natalie Kulla Earns 66th McCahill Award
Jan. 8, 2013
MILWAUKEE - Former Marquette women's soccer goalkeeper Natalie Kulla has been named the recipient of the 66th Annual McCahill Award, presented annually to the Marquette senior student-athlete from the previous year who demonstrated the highest performance in scholarship, leadership and athletics.
Kulla will be honored during halftime of the men's basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 26 vs. Providence at 1 p.m. CT.
"This is a tremendous honor for Natalie and we know how much she appreciates this recognition," head women's soccer coach Markus Roeders said. "The McCahill award is annually given to the very best and brightest Marquette athletes and Natalie is definitely deserving of the honor. Although we don't rank players in our program, it isn't difficult to list her among the top two or three players who have worn a women's soccer jersey over the past twenty years. "
She joins 73 other honorees in receiving this honor, which is the highest that the department of intercollegiate athletics gives to a student-athlete. The St. Louis, Mo. native is just the sixth women's soccer player to receive the award, the most recent of whom was Katie Miller in 2010.
Kulla is one of the most decorated soccer players in the Golden Eagles' history. She was named the 2011-12 BIG EAST Female Student-Athlete of the Year, which was a first for Marquette.
Kulla completed her career in 2011 as one of the top goalkeepers in BIG EAST history. She is a two-time BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year and the holder of Marquette's single-season (16) and career (43) shutout records. Her career shutouts record ranks seventh all-time in the NCAA. She finished her career with a program-record 0.74 goals-against average and ranks second on the school's career wins (58) and minutes (7835:04) charts.
Kulla helped the Golden Eagles to three consecutive BIG EAST American Division titles and four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including a berth in the Sweet 16 in 2010. She also played for the United States U23 Women's National Team.
Last spring, Kulla was given Marquette's Outstanding Senior Female Athlete Award as well as the Cura Personalis Award, honoring her work as chair of Marquette's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).
She graduated in December 2011 and returned to St. Louis, where she works at Boeing as a facilities plant engineer working in the defense, space and security division.
Aside from her academic and athletic accomplishments, Kulla also is active with a number of community service efforts. She was chair of Marquette's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, has performed volunteer work with the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Milwaukee and helped fundraising efforts on behalf of the Children's Medical Research Foundation Cure for Kirby.
"Although Natalie has many Marquette and NCAA statistics that rank her among the best of all time, she is one of the most humble individuals who has played soccer at Marquette," Roeders said. "Considering her commitments on and off the field, she was a stellar student and is truly deserving of this McCahill award selection. We are all very proud of her and blessed to call her among Marquette's best and brightest."
The McCahill Award was named after Captain Robert L. McCahill, a former Marquette student-athlete who gave his life for his country at the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II in 1945. Established by his brother, Colonel William P. McCahill, also an MU student-athlete, the award was first presented in 1946 and has been awarded annually as the highest honor bestowed upon a Marquette student-athlete.
After Colonel McCahill's death in 1999, Marquette University officially renamed the award to recognize the lifetime accomplishments of both Captain Robert and Colonel William McCahill.
The award is given annually to a student-athlete who has achieved in athletics, scholarship, and service to the university.
Past recipients of the award include Olympic silver medalist John Bennett (1954), two-time NBA All-Star Don Kojis (1961), Naismith Award-winner Butch Lee (1978), and NCAA 10,000-meter run champion Keith Hanson (1986).