UMass field hockey heads into A-10 tournament with uncertainty in net

Davies, von dem Borne have split time


Caroline O’Connor/Collegian

By Thomas Haines, Assistant Sports Editor

Heading into the Atlantic 10 tournament, the starting goalkeeper for the Massachusetts field hockey team has yet to be determined.

Coach Barb Weinberg said she hadn’t decided whether freshman Johanna von dem Borne or redshirt freshman Meg Davies would get the start for UMass (10-9, 6-2 A-10) in the A-10 semifinals.

“They’ve both stepped in huge and split games for the last two games,” Weinberg said. “That could be an option, or whoever trains the best in practice this week will get the start.”

The Minutewomen enter the tournament on a three-game winning streak, with wins over Northeastern, UMass Lowell and Saint Louis to close the season. Both von dem Borne and Davies earned significant minutes in all three games.

A true freshman, von dem Borne has started all 19 games this season, saving just over 70 percent of shots and allowing an average of 2.8 goals per game. She also recorded two shutouts, both against A-10 opponents.

After sitting behind Emily Hazard her freshman season, Davies came in relief five times in the first 16 games of the season, making her collegiate debut on Aug. 31 against No. 5 Michigan in a 5-0 loss. On Oct. 19 against Northeastern, Weinberg put Davies in with a 4-0 deficit in the 44th minute, and Davies shut out the Huskies the rest of the way en route to a 5-4 comeback win in double overtime.

“Honestly, I was super nervous going in,” Davies said. “I’ve never done overtime, it’s my biggest minutes, and then the first save happened and I just started enjoying myself. I’m super loud when I’m playing so if I’m talking, I’m not thinking about the game, so I’m not too stressed.”

After that game, Davies came in at halftime in each of the Minutewomen’s final two games. She allowed a goal in each of those games, facing five shots.

“I started out pretty flat, but I think Jo and I, we push each other so much, I’ve really stepped it up,” Davies said. “I really started enjoying it, and every time I got a bit of playing time, I just enjoyed that experience, gaining confidence.”

Since the game against Northeastern, the two goalies have been splitting reps at practice and have looked about even during the week. In Sunday’s win against Saint Louis, von dem Borne started and got two nice saves, but also allowed two goals. Davies came in and oversaw a comeback for UMass while facing only one shot, a near-post goal after a defensive breakdown.

“She is much more self-confident, I’m really happy for her,” von dem Borne said of Davies. “She played great in the Northeastern game, and afterwards she has so much self-confidence that she shows in the goal. She’s also had very good communication from the beginning. I can learn a lot from her also, it’s nice.”

UMass earned the third seed in the A-10 with a 6-2 record, the only losses coming against A-10 leader Saint Joseph’s and second-seeded Virginia Commonwealth. The Minutemen will face VCU in the semifinals after losing 2-0 to the Rams on Oct. 7.

In that game, von dem Borne got the start and allowed just one goal, a penalty corner by Emily McNamara in the 56th minute, before being pulled for a kicking back with five minutes remaining.

Both goalies will be ready to get the start, which will likely be held until just before the semifinal game is slated to start at 2 p.m.

“I think Jo and I are both pushing each other, so it’ll be kind of whoever has the best week,” Davies said. “But even if I don’t start, I’ll be ready to step in.”

Thomas Haines can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @thainessports