Although the saying goes, “Defense wins championships,” what is a team without the beautiful highlight-reel goals? With a battle-tested veteran corps of forwards playing alongside two talented rookies, the women’s hockey team’s offensive unit is looking more fearsome than ever.
“We’re all very excited,” senior Briana Jentner said. “Everyone on the team has a good attitude and has been really positive so far. We are definitely working well together.”
Yet, the Red’s forwards still have their work cut out for them this season. Last year, under a brand new coach and offensive system, the team tallied the second-fewest goals in the ECAC (29) on its way to a 2-12-2 conference record. But with head coach Melody Davidson returning for her second campaign with the squad, the Red is quick to point out that what’s in the past is in the past, and the team is only looking towards to future.
“It’s our second year with [Davidson’s] systems, so we all know a lot better how each other plays,” said Jentner, who had a goal and five assists for the Red last season.
Davidson and her staff have wasted no time getting the new freshmen, forwards Halina Kristalyn and Caroline Scott, acclimated to the ways things are run at Lynah Rink, having placed them into game situations since their arrival.
Jentner, Khar, and classmate Sarah Carter will all be returning for their final season, and the seniors have inspired a positive attitude among the rest of the veterans in addition to setting an example for the rookies. These are the players who have been through every high and low imaginable for the past three years, and this time, they are looking to go out on an encouraging note.
“Last year’s record was not a good indication of the steps we took together as a team,” said Khar, who was second on the team in 2002-03 with four goals. “This year, we are going to be tough to play against, and we’ll have the ability to steal games. Teams that think they can beat us will be surprised.”
Coming back for her second full season with the team is sophomore Jen Munhofen, the squad’s leading scorer last year with five goals and seven assists. The Alpharetta, Ga. native will be an integral part of the Red’s hopeful rise in the standings, and will be counted on to provide the same offensive spark she did in her breakout freshman season.
Also returning for her second campaign with the Red is forward Caitlin Warren, another sophomore coming off a remarkable rookie year. Warren finished the 2002-03 season with three goals and three assists in 24 games.
Adding to the returning mix are sophomores Vicki Hodgkinson (who recorded the Red’s lone goal against Clarkson on Nov. 8) and Andrea Skinner, and juniors Pearle Nerenberg and Maryann Nowak. Davidson hopes all of the returnees will contribute even more offensively with the added on-ice experience from last season.
Nerenberg will be expected to be a force again on special teams, having notched a critical power play goal last year in the Red’s 3-1 win over Yale.
Davidson and the forwards will be looking to improve the Red’s power play percentage, which was a meager .062 percent last season (4-for-54) in ECAC contests.
Overall, things on offense look decidedly better for the women’s hockey team in 2003-2004. The valuable experience of veterans added with the streaking new talent of Kristalyn and Scott should combine for a much-needed boost in goal scoring and provide the decisive edge in the Red’s quest for respectability.