Kelsey McGovern has milestone day in UMass women’s lacrosse’s win over George Mason
With seven minutes, 24 seconds left in Sunday’s matchup between the No. 10 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team and George Mason, freshman Hannah Murphy converted on a quick give-and-go pass from freshman Callie Santos to score and extend the Minutewomen’s lead to 18.
While the goal proved to be insignificant in terms of the game’s final outcome – UMass easily defeated the Patriots, 22-2 – what followed was monumental.
While the majority of Minutewomen starters were already being rested for the remainder of the second half due to the difference in score, UMass coach Angela McMahon still sent out starting senior defender Kelsey McGovern to handle the draw control following Murphy’s goal.
As a result, McGovern converted on her fifth face-off win of the day and the 194th draw control in her collegiate career – a new UMass record, breaking the previous all-time mark set by Nina Sarcona in 2012.
After the game, McGovern said that she was unaware at the moment that the particular face-off victory was “the one.” However, moments after her draw control win, she was notified of the record, along with the rest of the Senior Day crowd at McGuirk Stadium, through a public address announcement.
“I knew I was getting close but I didn’t know how close,” McGovern said. “And then when they said it, it was exciting.”
According to McGovern, McMahon was aware of the impending record and instructed her to stay in the game to continue to handle the draw control responsibilities. However, the coach did not alert McGovern of her looming achievement.
“I think (McMahon) knew more than me at that point because she was like, ‘Go out there and just draw it to yourself,’” McGovern said.
Already the holder of the record for most single season draw control wins, McGovern said that surpassing Sarcona for the all-time mark, who she played alongside with for two years, was an honor. McGovern added that during their time as teammates, Sarcona was instrumental in helping her development as a draw control specialist.
“Nina Sarcona is someone that really made me get that draw control record today,” McGovern said. “She really taught me all her tricks.”
The record comes less than a year after McGovern tore her anterior cruciate ligament in last year’s regular season finale against Duquesne, which caused her to sit out of the A-10 Tournament.
While McGovern was able to return as a draw control specialist in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in a win against Connecticut, she had surgery following the Minutewomen’s second round loss to Penn State.
Following her long offseason recovery, McMahon said that she was not surprised that McGovern was able to return to her pre-injury success on defense and with face-offs.
“She is one of the most disciplined and hardworking players that I’ve ever coached,” McMahon said. “You could just see her every day with the motivation to make sure she was going out at the top of her game.”
McGovern added that the hard work and extra motivation to overcome her injury made the fact that she reached the record even more special.
“It’s kind of a stick-it-to-you moment,” McGovern said. “Injuries are injuries, but it’s nice to be back on the field and be efficient and productive in helping my team.”
Anthony Chiusano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.