By: Greg Levinsky
Tears shed in a college library are usually ones of stress and frustration. As Livy Golini opened an email from Boston Universtiy field hockey coach Sally Starr in late 2017 while doing homework in a Quinnipiac University library, she cried tears — of pure joy.
A two-year starter and captain in her sophomore year with the Bobcats, Golini transferred to BU last spring and earned immediate eligibility for this fall. She’s already found a home in Boston in just a couple of months.
“I love it more than I thought I would, and that’s saying a lot because I thought I was going to love it here anyways,” Golini said. “I’m super happy that I made the decision to come here because I wanted to end up in a competitive environment and BU definitely has that.”
Starr does not often add transfers to her program. However, adding a player who was a captain as an underclassman was different.
“I’m usually cautious with transfers. But with Livy, we knew with the [high school] recruiting process,” Starr said. “We just really knew she was a special kid.”
A native of York, Maine, Golini started all 35 games she appeared in with the Bobcats and posted a .679 save percentage over her first two collegiate campaigns.
Despite Golini’s stellar play in the cage, the Bobcats went just 11-25. Joining the reigning Patriot League champs, and a team that has appeared in the NCAA Tournament in four of the past five seasons provides a fresh atmosphere for the gregarious keeper.
“It’s the mindset here that’s different,” Golini said. “It’s the competitive edge of wanting to be your best at every point in the day.
“The idea that if you’re not winning, then something has to change.”
She transferred for multiple reasons. First, she wanted a more competitive field hockey team and to be coached more. Second, Golini found a passion for marine biology, a major not offered at Quinnipiac. BU was her first choice, and after receiving the aforementioned email from Starr, Golini was in.
Golini enrolled at BU last spring and stayed in Boston over the summer. It helped her to quickly immerse herself among teammates and the campus itself. She said it helped “to get the wheels going” athletically, academically and socially.
Starr said Golini’s fit right in, and from watching the team it appears she has been with the program for years.
“You’d never know this is her first year with us,” Starr said. “She’s a natural leader. She really cares about the program.”
Despite Golini playing less than a game’s worth of minutes, Starr acknowledged her value.
“Even though she hasn’t seen a tone of minutes in games between the pipes, she’s contributing so much to this program already,” Starr said.
Joining a duo of established starting goalies in senior Kathleen Keegan and sophomore Millie Baker, Golini has taken on a backup role with grace. Other than her team debut in which she played the last three-plus minutes, she played nearly 29 minutes against Ohio State.
Golini said she’s gotten markedly better as a player and that it can be hard to not get as much playing time as she did at Quinnipiac. As a self-described “super competitive” person, she’s extra motivated to work hard for the nation’s 21st-ranked team.
Both battling and collaborating with Baker and Keegan on a daily basis as well as the help of first-year goalkeeping coach Amy Gibson has helped Golini hone her craft.
“I knew it was going to be hard coming in here because they were [already] such a good team,” Golini said of not starting. “I want to grow as a player. If I can grow as a player and become a starter, then that’s what I want to do.”
One of two juniors on the team along with midfielder Kiley Gallagher, it’s entirely possible Golini could be thrust into a captain’s role next year. If not denoted by official hierarchy, she’ll continue to provide support for her teammates.
A captain in high school and at her first college, Golini knows how to lead. Her first-year status is virtually meaningless.
“I want to see this team be the best it can be,” she said. “I do have experience whether it be in Boston or somewhere else. If the team believes I can lead them, I would love nothing more. I wouldn’t be taken aback, I’d be ready for it.”
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GregLevinsky