January 29, 2009

Young W. Hockey Out for Blood

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After its 6-0 shutout of Brown last weekend, the women’s hockey team looks forward to a successful rest of the season. This game proved that the Red has depth, as each of the six goals came from different forwards — it also demonstrated the squad’s powerful underclassmen presence. With eight freshmen and nine sophomores on the roster, this is both a young team and one that will stay strong in coming years.
The eight freshmen on the team have already proved themselves this season in numerous ways.
After gaining four points with last weekend’s two goals and two assists in the games against Yale and Brown, freshman Catherine White received her second ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week honors this week. Having racked up 12 goals and 16 assists, she is now tied with sophomore Rebecca Johnston to lead the team with 28 points.
[img_assist|nid=34544|title=She’s young and talented|desc=Freshman forward Catherine White (20) had two goals and two assists over the weekend.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
White has shown consistency in her performance and has scored at least one point in 18 out of the 21 games she has played in for the Red. Among rookies, she is fifth in the country in scoring, averaging 1.33 points per game.
Defender Jess Martino has delivered 11 assists and one goal, and forward Chelsea Karpenko seven goals and four assists. Defender Amanda Young has made 10 assists. Kendice Ogilvie just accomplished her first goal for the Red last weekend.
Freshman Ashley Duffy has scored two goals one assist, and defender Jenna Paulson has also contributed her talent to the team effort. While Amanda Mazzotta hasn’t been in goal this season due to injury, she is expected to provide an impact throughout the rest of their career here.
“They’ve all really, in my mind, exceeded expectations,” said assistant coach Kim Insalaco. “I think they had a lot of pressure on them right from the start to play well and take on a big role, and I think they really grasped that and really showed initiative, and wanted that kind of pressure.”
The freshmen not only bring to the team their skills and talent to deliver in pressured game situations, but also contribute more liveliness to the team as a whole, to create an upbeat team dynamic.
“The energy level! There is a tremendous amount of energy every night in practice and every weekend they just never cease to amaze me. It keeps everyone going, and it creates a great team atmosphere,” Insalaco said.
After playing in highly competitive leagues throughout the US and Canada before coming to Cornell, the freshmen were ready to take on the next level of competition. One of the first obstacles to overcome was learning how to balance more demanding academics and tougher opponents while also focusing on training and playing their hardest.
“[My team last year] It was pretty competitive, but coming here I realized it was a whole new level. Everyone was faster, everyone was stronger,” said freshman forward Kendice Ogilvie.
This group has shown that it could adjust easily, which is central to keeping the team healthy and performing at its peak. Their smooth transition was helped by the older teammates, who had already been through many of the same challenges themselves.
“They were good with … making you feel like part of the team right away,” freshman forward White said. “They really stepped up and made us feel welcome. Because you’re learning all of these new things and coming to a new team that you barely know, and they did an excellent job. It was easy to adjust, and it’s easy to play with them too.”
Not only do the freshmen have the older teammates supporting them, but they also value staying close with the other freshmen players.
“I’m probably closest with the freshman just because we’re all the same age and we’re going through the same things at the same time,” Ogilvie said.
This camaraderie among the freshmen translates to strong team ties and chemistry on the ice.
“We all have different personalities, but we all get along really well, which is good for our team chemistry,” White said.
With this strong group of players consistently contributing to the team, the Red expects to keep moving forward with success.
“I’ve seen them progress tremendously,” Insalaco said. “They’ve matured not only as athletes but as people too, and it’s only been one semester, but I think the future is really bright for them individually and for our team because of that. We need more throughout the playoffs and I hope to see more from them.”
For right now, the team is focused on together accomplishing critical wins on their path to the playoffs.
“We are focusing on making playoffs and then working hard,” White said. “Yeah, we’re a younger team, but I feel like we’re going to have a really big finish.”