Nov. 6, 2007
By Jessica Cegarra
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Coming off a winning season, the women's ice hockey team prepares for the 2007-2008 campaign with high expectations. The Crusaders return 17 letterwinners to a team that finished with a 15-10-2 record. "Overall last year we were much more consistent in our play," said eighth year head coach Peter Van Buskirk. "Due to the added talent from the in-coming players we had much more depth which greatly helped us in creating a much steadier performance level throughout the season." Despite a good season last year the Crusaders understand that this is a brand new year and there is work to be done to get to the top of the conference.
Last seasons seniors left the program with 48 total wins. There will be opportunities for players to step up into the positions held by the graduating class. "We only lost two seniors, one of our starting goalies and one of our defensemen," said Van Buskirk. "We will have two freshmen compete to play goal and we have added two very capable defensive players."
The team will look towards its seven seniors Parny Ormiston, Meghan Donovan, Allie DeAngelis, Sam Rush, Casey Harvell, Katie Falkowski and Sam Murphy to lead the team with the experience they have gained in their three years of playing. Van Buskirk believes that "we have an experienced group of seven seniors who will not only be strong players on the ice but are all quality individuals who are leaders off the ice as well."
Along with the senior leadership, captains Lisa Wilson, Harvell and Rush will also help to lead their team as they have been chosen captains for this season. "Leadership is always important in a team setting," said Van Buskirk. "We are blessed with three players who are strong leaders and an extended group of mature players who are leaders as well. Casey was an assistant captain last year, Sam is a talented senior forward and Lisa is a sophomore defenseman. All three are take charge individuals leading the Crusaders this year."
With a small class of juniors it will be up to them to step up to help lead the team as upperclassmen. "The junior class consists of only two players, Stephanie Couzin and Amy McGhee," said Van Buskirk. "Stephanie was our leading scorer last year and is a member of our first line. Amy got some added experience last year and is always ready when needed."
"Our sophomore class is a strong class and most of them played a lot of minutes last year," said Van Buskirk. "Wilson is one of our captains and leaders on defense along with Katelyn Doherty. Emalee Blumhagen was limited by an injury last year and will give us added depth this year. Wendy Nobrega, Kathryn Kelley and Kathryn O'Connor played a number of games for us last year. Julia Matthews will give us added depth as a forward." The experience gained last season by these sophomores will be added to the development of this year's team and leadership.
Incoming freshman will also be expected to contribute to the success of the season. "The freshmen will make an immediate impact as they did last year," said Van Buskirk. "We have Emily Henry and Colleen Krmpotich who will strengthen our defense with Christina D'Ambrogio, Louise Hillen and Jocelyn Kratchmer adding talent to our forward corps. Monique Gallant and Lindsay Atkinson will compete to play goal with Alicia Lew as our third goalie."
Going into the season the strengths of the team will be the experience of having a large group of upperclassmen. "The strength of our team is the experienced play of our returning upper class players and the added talent of our new players," said Van Buskirk. "We should be much more balanced as a team in the offensive and defensive play of the game and our depth should create a faster level of attack throughout the game than in previous years."
The Crusaders will once again compete in the ECAC Division III Women's East Conference where they will face off against 11 other teams in the league. Van Buskirk believes this year's conference will be strong. The grouping at the top of our league will be tighter this coming year than in the past, but with hard work he believes the Crusaders are projecting themselves to be one of the top teams in their division. "Our schedule is very similar to last year," said Van Buskirk. "We do have a more competitive beginning series of games but we are all on the same footing early in the season."
Van Buskirk is very excited about the season. "Overall we have a committed group of enthusiastic, talented players and I am looking forward to the season."
Returning 10; Lost 0; Newcomers 3
The Crusaders have the advantage of 10 returning and experienced forwards to lead the offense this year with an addition of three incoming freshmen that will increase the depth of the team. "I'm expecting our forwards to be very aggressive and disciplined in our system of play," said Van Buskirk. "The characteristics of their play are speed, ability to work the corners in the offensive zone, ability to finish and make plays and offensive minded and tenacious on the fore-check."
Returning impact players include Couzin, O'Connor, Kelly, Jackie Flint, Matthews, Rush, McGhee, Harvell, Falkowski and Murphy. The incoming freshmen include Kratchmer and D'Ambrogio. "I expect our first line of Rush, Kratchmer and Couzin to be a very difficult group to defend," said Van Buskirk. "We are fortunate this year to have some depth of ability amongst our forwards so I am expecting us to maintain good consistent pressure on our opponents throughout the game."
Returning 7; Lost 1; Newcomers 2
This season the Crusaders will have six returning players on defense with two incoming freshmen to strengthen the team's core. Returning to Holy Cross on defense is Ormiston, Donovan, DeAngelis, Wilson, Nobrega, Doherty and Blumhagen. Incoming freshmen include Krmpotich and Henry. "Our defensive units are balanced and have a good combination of talent and experience," said Van Buskirk. "We have back three seniors in Ormiston, DeAngelis and Donovan plus returning veterans in Wilson, Doherty and Blumhagen. Our two first year defenders will play a major role this year. Henry will direct our first group and Krmpotich will play with our second unit."
Returning 0; Lost 1; Newcomers 3
With the departure of their top goalies, the goaltender job is open for the taking. Freshmen Atkinson, Lew and Gallant will all be battling it out for the position. "We will be young in the goal this year with three first year goalies," said Van Buskirk. "They will need to focus on keeping the game as simple as possible by concentrating on the basics, playing good angles and controlling rebounds. They have been working hard and I expect they will mature practice by practice and game by game."