Freshman goalkeeper excelling early
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 01:09
Freshman goaltender Mimi Borkan’s performance Wednesday for the UNH women’s soccer team earned her the honor of “America East Rookie of the Week.” Due to that day’s 2-1 win over Harvard, Coach Sam Lopes stated Monday that the starting job was now hers.
After senior goalkeeper Erica Correa struggled despite her experience as a starting goalie for UNH for the last few seasons, Lopes decided it was time to give Borkan a real test against what he reiterated Monday was most likely the best team they’d faced all season.
Lopes liked what he saw in Borkan that day.
“Quite honestly, [Borkan] was outstanding,” Lopes said. “I don’t think we win the game if she’s not in the goal, primarily because she made some important saves that, quite frankly, I think it’s in her DNA that she can make them.”
By “in her DNA,” he means she not only has the physical build and range in net, but she also has the confidence to use her tools in game, despite her age. According to Lopes, she does not perform like most 18-year-olds do at the collegiate level.
“I think Mimi doesn’t act like a freshman, so that’s the biggest strength she’s got going for her right now,” Lopes said. “She’s very, very confident for a freshman. Very well spoken. She has that ‘it’ factor. Very good character.”
Part of Borkan’s success this season has come from her ability to pick up organizational skills that are required at this level. The game moves faster here than it does in high school, and she needs to be as alert as ever when she’s playing in goal, especially with the view of the field she has with her back to the net.
When she arrived at UNH this summer to meet with the team, she noticed that Correa frequently called out directions and cues from her position in goal.
“It’s back to that communication thing, it’s, ‘Wow, this is how much she talks, this is how much she’s gotta organize everyone in front of us,’” Borkan said. “It’s really helped me and [fellow freshman goalkeeper Danielle Tidd] to say, ‘This is what’s expected of us, this is where we have to strive to work to be so we can contribute and we can play the role that [Correa has] been playing’.”
Borkan is confident in her ability to avoid overthinking. In the game Wednesday night, she didn’t have time to think, she said. The game was moving too fast. It worked to her advantage.
“It was so much in our end and down our throats [at Harvard],” Borkan said. “There was no time to think, ‘Well, what if [I] do this, what if I mess up?’ It was just go with it, react, react. So I think that really helps me to stay focused on what I know I can do.”
Lopes said it’s tough to hand out a demotion like he had to with Correa this past week. He acknowledged it’s tough to lose a starting job, especially as a veteran player.
“I don’t think anybody reacts well when you’re the starter and you’re a senior,” Lopes said. “But unfortunately the only way to have those kinds of conversations is to be honest and respectful about it. We had a frank conversation about some of the concerns we had with the goaltending, kind of told Mimi what they were as well. … Now it’s on her to whether she wants to keep it and it’s on the other two to push her.”
Borkan and Tidd still look up to Correa, and the three of them all work together to create the best possible goalkeeper core, no matter which of the girls ends up starting.
“We’re a family,” Borkan said. “We do have healthy competition but we push each other every day that we’re out here, every game, we support each other to be the one that starts and we’re proud of each other when we make a save. ... We’re always there for each other.”