The women’s hockey team will start its 2002-2003 season under new head coach Melody Davidson this weekend, as it faces Yale tonight in New Haven before it travels to Princeton to battle the No. 10 Tigers tomorrow. Davidson, who was hired at the beginning of August, was an assistant coach with the 2002 Canadian National Team that won the gold medal in Salt Lake City this past February.
The ECAC has undergone some changes in the offseason, with the teams in the ECAC East Division leaving the conference. Maine, Boston College, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Northeastern, and Providence are now in the inaugural Hockey East Women’s Conference, Niagara has joined the new College Hockey America Women’s Conference, and Quinnipiac is now independent. The old ECAC North Division has dropped the “North” from its name, and consists of Cornell, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Brown, Colgate, St. Lawrence, and Vermont.
The Red finished last year with a 9-18-1 (7-8-1 ECAC North) record and will battle some of the top teams in the country this season. Five teams in the conference are currently ranked in the top 10 of the USA Today/AHM Poll, with Harvard garnering the highest ranking at No. 3 this week.
The icers will face a Yale team that already has two games under its belt. Last weekend, the Bulldogs lost to Wayne State and Findlay of the CHA, and only managed to score one goal during both contests.
“Yale’s got a new head coach, so they’re going to be looking to play well for her, just like I’m sure my team is this year,” commented Davidson. “To be honest, I’m not really focused on the other teams. I believe that with the stuff we’re putting in place, we can counter a play against any team with that, so we’ve been focusing on our play, and what we’re going to do.”
Last season, the Red won both contests against the Elis, winning 4-1 at Lynah Rink in November, and 7-3 in New Haven in February. The team’s new coach, Hilary Witt, is two years removed from her playing days at Yale, and will try to lead the Bulldogs to its second straight ECAC playoff appearance.
Princeton is coming off a weekend shutout of Wayne State and Findlay. The Tigers will benefit from the return of Annamarie Holmes and Andrea Kilbourne, who spent last season with the U.S. National and Olympic Teams, respectively. Freshman Heather Jackson was named ECAC Rookie of the Week, and recorded a goal and an assist in last weekend’s games.
“Princeton’s a strong team, they’re ranked in the top 10. They’re going to give us an excellent game, and it’s going to be a good measuring tool as we go into next weekend,” remarked Davidson.
The Red will return to Ithaca next weekend for the home opener against Vermont Friday night at Lynah Rink, and will face No. 4 Dartmouth Saturday afternoon.
Archived article by Jonathan Auerbach