Hangin' out with ... Kelsey McGovern
By Phil Shore
Kelsey McGovern's skill on draw controls has been critical to the UMass women's team. (UMass Athletics)
HANGIN’ OUT WITH …
UMass defender Kelsey McGovern
Hometown: Acton, Mass.
High school: Acton-Boxborough
Birthdate: Dec. 13, 1991
In the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2013, the UMass women’s lacrosse team defeated UConn, 14-10, for its first tournament win since 1984.
Then a junior, Kelsey McGovern won eight draw controls only a few weeks removed from tearing her ACL. UMass lost in the next round, but the Acton, Mass., native set the UMass single-season record for draw controls (110).
McGovern showed her toughness playing through such a difficult injury, but she also showed her intelligence. Majoring in kinesiology, she used what she learned from her studies to help her overcome her injury.
In 2014, the senior has started the team’s first seven games, won 20 draw controls and picked up six groundballs.
What were your thoughts when you tore your ACL last year?
“My first thought was, ‘Oh, no.’ I had torn my other ACL when I was a junior in high school. Going through the same thing isn’t something you’d want to do again, but since I had torn it before, I understood the process. I could use it to my advantage.”
How were you able to play with that kind of injury in the NCAA tournament?
“It was definitely a bit rushed. We only had three weeks. The mindset was to do everything I could quickly in terms of getting strong and reducing swelling and pain. The first week we tried to increase my range of motion and reduce swelling so I could start running. I was in the weight room two times a day to get stronger. I spent a lot of time in the training room. It’s an injury where you can’t really react to someone. Playing defense is virtually impossible. The faceoff was something I could do. I could run. And I could change direction but only when I was planting it. It was putting myself in situations I could work through. The training department was good in fitting me for a custom brace within a few days. It was a pretty smooth transition. Everyone was working hard with me to get back into the game.”
What role has physical education had on your life?
“It’s been a big part of who I am. From my first ACL injury to now, and going into pre-med and kinesiology education here, I’ve wanted to be involved in physical therapy. Definitely my kinesiology background has given me more understanding of what you can and can’t do with your body. It’s been really rewarding. I don’t have to ask as many questions. I know a little more than the average person and I think it allows for me to push the limits.”
You were almost a UConn Husky, but opted for UMass. What was behind that decision?
“Mainly, it was my coach, Angela McMahon. She was the previous head coach at UConn. When she was picked for the job at UMass, she asked me to come with her and it was really a no-brainer. I really believed in her philosophy as a coach and how she interacted with her players. Being a Massachusetts native, it’s fun to play for your state school. It was easy to make the switch and I’m happy about it now.”
What is it like for you when you play UConn?
“In the tournament, it was a really big game for me. It was special compared to other games. Their current senior class — that would be the class I’d be with. It’s fun to play with your friends, but you want to beat them a little more. It’s kind of a New England battle. It was fun.”
What’s it like going from team leader in goals in high school to your current role in college?
“It was definitely a big change. Anyone in high school that comes into a college program, they’re one of the top players from high school. Roles change when you come to a new team. I’m totally fine with it. Being a defender shows you’re athletic, quick, think fast and you communicate well. I think it’s cool how it pushed me into a defender at UMass.”
When you’re not playing lacrosse, what’s your favorite thing to do?
“I really enjoy working out and exercising. It relieves stress for me. I enjoy hot yoga. I like to spin and go for runs. That’s usually what I’m doing. That and homework.”
What superpower would you want?
“Probably to be invisible. That would be cool. It would be funny to go into a room with a bunch of people and erase things from a chalkboard, or turn the lights on and off and just mess with everyone. It would be funny.”
Pregame meal: Yogurt with granola
Visiting stadium or city: “I really love playing at Richmond. That’s our big rivalry school. Great facility, good field and it’s usually warmer, which is always a plus.”
Practice drill: 3-v-2 continuous
Food: Pizza from Antonio’s
Vacation spot: Any beach. I’ve been to the Outer Banks (in N.C.) a ton and I like it there.
Singer/band: John Mayer
Song: “In Your Atmosphere,” the live version, by John Mayer
Actor: Julianne Hough
Movie: “Remember the Titans”
TV show: “I’m a real sucker for reality TV. I love ‘The Bachelor.’”
Book: “Vanishing Act” by Jodi Picoult
Video game: “‘Mario Kart.’ My twin brother and I played that a lot when we were little.”
Sports idol: “When I was a freshman and sophomore it was my coaches, like Sarah Albrecht. Professionally, I would say Paul Pierce.”
Sport other than lacrosse: Track
Team: Boston Celtics
Article of clothing: “My gray UMass hoodie I got when I was a sophomore. I wear it for every game day warmup.”
Stick: “I use the original Amonte by Brine.”
Goggles: Under Armour
Gloves: Under Armour