February 28, 2008

Senior Women Icers Reminisce

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On a squad predominantly composed of underclassmen, the women’s ice hockey team is led by a small, diverse group of four seniors — each of whom provides a different style of leadership.
“I think each one brings something special, and I think that’s what is great about this senior class,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “They each compliment one another very well. You look at [co-captain] Brittany Forgues and she’s a very vocal leader, very passionate and very energetic. [Co-captain] Caeleigh Beerworth is a very driven, focused individual, who works very hard. She’s a little bit quieter [than Forgues], but her actions speak louder than her words. Brianne Schmidt is just a player with a very big heart that cares very much about her teammates. Sarah Johnston likes to be the prankster. She’s always smiling, always laughing and keeps everything very loose with the players. She brings a real positive energy to the team.”[img_assist|nid=28339|title=Fab four|desc=Senior Brianne Schmidt (15) and her three fellow classmates bring varying leadership styles to the ice for the Red.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
Forgues echoed her coach’s sentiments in crediting the team’s success to its chemistry on the ice.
“All of the four seniors are very, very different, and I think we each brought something unique to the team this year,” Forgues said. “The compatibility of all four of us was awesome. It’s amazing how different we are, but how we were able to come together and make this year our best year.”
This is the first time since the 2003-04 season that the Red has made the postseason.
“Overall, just seeing the program develop over the past four years has been a fond memory,” Schmidt said. “This year we set a goal to win 10 games, and we surpassed that three-quarters of the way through the season. And it’s been four years since we made the playoffs, so that has also been an accomplishment.”
Beerworth believes the team’s success is a by-product of the close-knit atmosphere present both on and off the ice amongst the players.
“I think the seniors all get along great,” Beerworth said, “but, at the same time, we are a very close team in general. It’s not just divided by class. I think all of us are very close to one another, and I think that’s also very important for a team. I don’t think it’s healthy to have that class division. I can remember back to my freshman year when my freshman class at the time was very large and we did feel sort of isolated from the upper classmen, which I don’t think is an issue now. Everyone gets along great and we all are great friends.”
“Overall, I think our team is a big family, especially the four seniors,” Schmidt said. “We’ve been through a lot, especially freshman year. We didn’t have a very good season. We’ve also pretty much lived with each other at least once over the course of the past four years. I lived with Sarah during my sophomore year, and I have lived with Caeleigh for the past two years.”
Although this is the most successful season for the seniors in terms of wins and losses, there are numerous moments and games they will never forget from earlier in their collegiate career.
“There are particular games that I am going to remember the most,” Beerworth said. “Going back to my sophomore year two seasons ago, we beat Harvard at Harvard and Brown at Brown, which is something that Cornell hadn’t done in a while. Also, they were two top-10 ranked teams at the time. Those are two distinct memories that are going to stick out forever.”
Johnston recalled the Harvard upset as well, but there was another spark behind her fondness for this memory.
“The greatest accomplishment I will remember is when we beat Harvard during my sophomore year,” Johnston said. “It was also nice because my sister was on Harvard at that time, too, and it was nice to beat her.”
In her final season for the Red, Johnston filled the position of team manager after returning in January from her study abroad program in Denmark.
“Having gone abroad I missed most of the season, so it was not really appropriate to jump right back in after missing half a year,” she said. “There are two things I love and that’s hockey and traveling. I just thought it would be a really good opportunity for me. It made sense financially because Cornell financial still covers abroad. My role has definitely changed. I am still the same type of person I’ve always been in the locker room. All the girls still respect me and listen to me, which is great.”
The lessons these seniors leave behind to the underclassmen are not just on the ice, but off the ice as well.
“I think all three of the seniors that have been playing all year have provided tremendous leadership for the team,” Derraugh said. “I think they all work very hard. They’re showing the young players what it takes, not only to be an athlete and to be a good teammate but also what it takes to be a student here. And, I think that’s always a big adaptation for the young players. They have to learn how to handle both the rigors of the schoolwork here at Cornell and also how to be able to come to rink and focus on ice hockey for the time that they’re there. So, I think that the seniors have done a tremendous job. We’ve succeeded in reaching all of the goals that we set early on for the team and I think that the leadership from the seniors has been the main reason for that.”