The Cornell women’s hockey team recently hit the ice for their 2018-19 season, hungry for their 3rd consecutive Ivy League title. With a three-game winning streak to open the season, the Red’s prospects already look bright.
Just this past week, Cornell shut down two Ivy League foes, Harvard and Dartmouth, clinching a 3-2 win over the Crimson and a comfortable 4-0 shutout victory against the Green. Although the auspicious season has just begun, the Red’s early success can be traced back to its preseason efforts.
“Early success comes from the preseason,” said assistant coach Edith Racine. “It is about getting ready for those big games and getting the team to work together. It’s the work that you put in everyday, the effort to get better, that leads to success.”
Racine is taking on an increased role while head coach Doug Derraugh ’91 is coaching the Canadian national women’s hockey team.
With the new season, there’s been some turnover of faces. The Red graduated three seniors last year, all of whom had a dominating presence on the ice. Erin O’Connor ’18 was responsible for leading the power play unit, under which the team scored 20 goals last season.
Sarah Knee ’18 and Brianna Veerman ’18 were integral playmakers, securing 17 and 15 assists, respectively, for the Red. The team, however, has enlisted the skills of six new freshmen, who the team is confident will further contribute to its success.
“Although we miss the seniors who graduated last year, it is also exciting getting to know some new faces around the rink,” said senior forward Lenka Serdar. “The new players are always so eager to learn and contribute, and this inspires the rest of the team to become better too.”
“We had a great group of seniors last year, but we are also excited about our freshman,” Racine added. “They are adapting well to our team and program so far and have already done some great things on the ice.”
Last season saw the Red achieve impressive success; overall, Cornell secured 21 wins, 9 losses and 3 ties. The team is convinced that it can emulate these results in the 2018-19 season.
“We need to play with speed and consistency — keep things simple,” Racine said. “We need to just keep up with what we have been doing for the past years and continue to grow and get better as a team each and every day.”
With four wins already under their belt, the Red is prepared to take on Yale (0-2) and Brown (3-2) this Friday and Saturday. These will be their first matchups away from the comfort of Lynah Rink and the supportive Lynah Faithful, but the team will not let the change of scenery dampen its success, and instead sees it as an opportunity to grow as a unit.
“Team road trips … are a great way for our team to bond, and playing on the road brings a new kind of preparation,” Serdar said. “Although we don’t have the Lynah Faithful feeding us energy from the stands, we must bring our own energy.”
The team will have plenty of time to bond, as Cornell does not return to East Hill until after Thanksgiving.
The Red hits the ice at Yale this Friday at 6 p.m. The following day, the game against Brown will begin at 3 p.m. The upcoming games will be streamed live on ESPN+.