The old sports adage declares that while offense wins games, defense wins championships. However, for the women’s hockey team, whose conference schedule will feature as many as five of the top 10 teams in the nation, it might as well read that the defense must be really good, otherwise success will be hard to find in the ECACHL.
“It’s a huge responsibility,” said senior co-captain Jamie Ramenofsky. “We can’t win without good defense.”
The Red, though, believes it is up to the challenge. With three highly touted freshmen joining some quality veterans at the blue line, as well as three solid netminders splitting time in goal, it should be no easy task to score against Cornell this season.
“We have come so far in the past couple of years,” Ramenofsky said. “We are a solid defensive team.”
Ramenofsky is the leading scorer of all the returning defensemen, having tallied 10 assists and 12 total points in the 2003-04 campaign.
Joining her back at the blue line is senior Lara Kelly as well as juniors Becky Fisher and Emily Cabral. Combined, these four players only missed two total games all of last season.
“Our four returners are key,” said head coach Melody Davidson. “You need six on defense in this league, but those four must be solid for us to be competitive.”
Meanwhile, freshmen Beth Dibella, Molly McDonald, and Lindsay Pegler will also see significant playing time for the Red.
“They need ice time to get experience,” Davidson said. “They bring good size and toughness though.”
In goal, like last season, the Red will rely primarily on junior Flora Vineberg and sophomore Beth Baronick. Sophomore Sarah McConnachie will also compete for playing time.
“We have three competitive goalies,” Davidson said. “I’m not a coach who runs with just one goalie, but we would like to see one step up.”
Last season, Vineberg saw almost 70 percent of the action, compiling a 4-15-2 record with a .902 save percentage and a 3.38 goals against average.
As a freshman, Baronick saw ice time in 11 games, earning a 2-6-0 record with a .893 save percentage and a 3.69 goals against average. McConnachie racked up a .923 goals against average and 0.65 goals against average in limited action.
However, even with all three of the goalies splitting time on the ice, the defense is comfortable no matter which one is in net at any given time.
“We are confident with all of them in goal,” Ramenofsky said.
Defensively, Cornell is already off to a solid start to the season despite the fact that the team has focused mainly on offense during its practices.
“Our problems have been scoring goals in the past years. The defense has been doing a great job considering we have concentrated on the offense,” Davidson said.
Meanwhile, Ramenofsky believes that the defense is in good position this year to also help create offense from the blue line.
“All our shots are deadly. All seven of us can find the passing lane and get off a good shot.” The Red’s defense will be put to the test in the high-scoring conference.
Archived article by Scott Reich
Sun Staff Writer