The defensive unit of the women’s hockey team is coming off a season in which it scored just one goal and had only eight assists in 27 contests. The addition of senior captain Briana Jentner, who comes into this season with 15 career goals, should boost that statistic.
Jentner, who moved from forward to defense this season, adds to an already solid foundation that also includes assistant captains senior Alison Simpson and junior Jamie Ramenofsky. For that reason, head coach Melody Davidson is expecting more than just statistics from a unit that includes six women who received significant playing time a year ago.
“We would expect Bri, Ali, and Jamie to lead us as veterans and captains,” Davidson said. “The sign of a good leader is that they are able to bring out the best in everyone around them and that is what we would expect them to do.”
The three captains will focus much of their attention to the team’s inexperienced goaltenders. Sophomore Flora Vineberg has started the first two games of the season, making 113 saves in four contests. Yet Vineberg had little playing experience last season, playing behind seniors Liz Connelly and Sanya Sandahl, who place the fourth and sixth in school history in saves, respectively.
Last season, Vineberg appeared in eight contests, with her best showing against Findlay when she made 32 saves. Vineberg faced tough competition last year, making 12 stops against No. 4 Dartmouth and racking up 47 saves in two contests against ECAC champion Harvard.
Davidson is not worried about Vineberg’s performance, though.
“Prior to coming to Cornell [Vineberg] was a starter, and many times the only goaltender on her junior teams. Although she did not play in a lot of games last year, she played in some important situations, and in every opportunity, proved she was someone the team could count on.”
Vineberg is joined with freshmen Beth Baronick and Sarah McConnachie to round out the goaltending corps. Baronick made 14 saves in one appearance, and each notched seven saves in an overtime victory over the Mississaugua Juniors in a preseason match-up.
While Vineberg is the Red’s starter, “both Sarah and Beth will see ice time, so their ability to step in is important,” Davidson said.
“Everyone has top-end days and off days — if Flo ever hits one of those off days, the team and staff have full confidence that the freshmen will step up and do the job.”
If the freshmen are called upon to mind the net, they will have plenty of experienced players in front of them. Simpson, a former forward, is one of the Red’s top defenders. Simpson has five goals in her career and 10 assists, four of which came last season.
Ramenofsky tallied three assists last season and has seven in her career. In addition, she scored a goal in the Red’s game against Colgate to preserve a 1-1 tie. The sophomore defenders are Becky Fisher and Emily Cabral, who tallied an assist on the Red’s lone goal in its ECAC playoff contest against Harvard last season.