After four years on the East Hill, the seniors of the women’s hockey team will suit up for the last time at Lynah Rink this Saturday against Brown. The six women of the graduating class have been through a lot and have accomplished some great things during their time at Cornell. With a new coach in Melody Davidson this season, the seniors have kept up their strong performance from previous seasons.
“Our senior class has been extremely receptive to everything that Coach Davidson is bringing to this program,” commented senior Kelly Pike. “Coach Davidson definitely has a different style, and our senior class has adapted very well to it. She brings a new perspective on board, and we continue to work with her towards our goals of success both on and off the ice.”
Pike, along with blueliner Brooke Bestwick, goalies Sanya Sandahl and Liz Connelly, and forwards Erin Ellis and Lindsay Murao have had their share of experiences at Cornell. These players will take a lot of memories with them as they leave Ithaca to pursue their professional goals.
“Probably the most memorable moment of my Cornell career was our road trip to Harvard and Brown [last season],” remarked Bestwick. “We won 4-3 vs. Harvard for the first time in my career (and for the graduating seniors of ’02), and we also tied Brown with less than a minute to play in the third. It was a great feeling to come out of that weekend with three points, and everyone contributed.”
Bestwick made the transition from figure skating to hockey in 11th grade and has excelled ever since. After an outstanding freshman campaign, Bestwick put up great numbers her sophomore and junior seasons to establish herself as one of the premiere two-way players on the team. As captain this season, she has provided leadership and is a strong presence in the locker room.
“When I look back at my Cornell hockey experience, the one thing I will never forget is being able to go to the locker room day in and day out and just being around my teammates. I will never forget how great it is to be able to go to Lynah everyday, see familiar faces and people with the same passion and love for the game of hockey as I do,” said Bestwick.
Connelly has grown into a solid netminder since her freshman year and has shared the starting job with Sandahl for the past two seasons. She posted a .918 save percentage her junior year, which is third highest in program history and is also fourth on the all-time saves list
Ellis’s career at Cornell didn’t exactly start off on the right foot, as she injured two of her ribs at the start of her freshman year. Since then, she has developed into a great leader on and off the ice, and served as alternate captain this season along with junior Briana Jentner.
“I think I will remember the great seniors that came before me and showed me the way. I have great memories of the leadership they demonstrated. I will also remember the friendships that I’ve made with people on the team,” commented Ellis.
Murao may be the shortest player on the team, but she certainly doesn’t play like it. Her great speed and stickhandling has led to her 61 points in 78 games, the most of any senior. Murao plays with a lot of heart, and has developed good chemistry on the ice with her freshman linemates Jen Munhofen and Andrea Skinner.
“We have so much history behind our program that you are a part of something much huger than the four years you are at Cornell. It was amazing to go on road trips and have alumni have our entire team over for dinner and have such huge fan support at our games on the road,” said Murao.
Pike has made a big impact on and off the ice since transferring from Wayne State before her junior year. She was named to ECAC All-Academic team last season and is a member of the Red Key Athletic Honorary Society.
“My experience at Wayne State was an exciting way to kick off my college career, but the challenges did not seem to extend too far beyond the rink. Cornell challenges me every day — on the ice, in the classroom, within the community. It has been an exciting and rewarding experience and an amazing way to end this chapter of my life,” commented Pike.
Rounding out the senior class is Sandahl, who has her own fair share of acclaims. Despite limited action in her freshman season, she posted great numbers and backstopped the Red in 22 games her sophomore year before splitting time between the pipes with Connelly the past two years. Sandahl is currently sixth on the all-time saves list.
“My teammates have influenced me the most at Cornell. The wisdom, leadership, and encouragement that the players before me gave to me as an underclassman are the things that I will never forget. Also, the support provided by my teammates in every situation from failing a prelim freshman year to beating Harvard last year,” recalled Sandahl.
After Saturday’s game, these six players will hope to help their team upset Harvard in the ECAC playoffs. Then the seniors will begin their respective post-Cornell journeys. Despite their different professional goals, from going to law school for Ellis to playing in the Switzerland National A League for Sandahl, the six seniors will always remember their time at Cornell.
Archived article by Michael Pandolfini