Nov. 4, 2008
By Anna Poulter-Hendrickson
Special to GoHolyCross.com
WORCESTER, Mass. - The Holy Cross women's hockey team returns fourteen players from last season (16-8-3 overall, 13-4-2 ECAC) to a young but experienced team. Twelve of the returning fourteen athletes are a part of a junior/sophomore class that combined for over half of the total goals scored in the 2007-2008 season. "We want to perform as well as possible," said head coach Peter Van Buskirk, "to do that we have to have consistent defense all season and then use that defense to create a strong offensive threat."
Holy Cross will rely on co-captains, senior Stephanie Couzin's and junior Lisa Wilson's on ice experience to help achieve success in the 2008-2009 season. Couzin and Wilson are the returning top point scorers for the Crusaders. Couzin played in 26 games and had 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points, while Wilson played in 27 games and had 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points. The Crusaders will continue to look for Couzin and Wilson to lead both on and off the ice.
Holy Cross senior forward, Amy McGhee will also be an active leader for the Crusaders. McGhee, a forward, played in 15 games last season and had one goal with two assists for three points. McGhee will be called upon to be a key role player in critical situations.
The Crusaders return five juniors: Wilson, Wendy Nobrega, Kathryn Kelley, Katelyn Doherty and Kathryn O'Connor, along with seven sophomores: Lindsay Atkinson, Colleen Krmpotich, Jocelyn Kratchmer, Emily Henry, Louise Hillen, Christina D'Ambrogio and Monique Gallant, who make up the nucleus of this year's team. "Those two classes create a core of impact players for the team," commented Van Buskirk. Together the group combined for 56 goals in the 2007-2008 season, over half of the total goals scored.
Crusader newcomers Carly Dominick-Sobol, Brooke Miller, Amy Pfund, Nicola Garat, Kylee McIntosh and Stacey Hochkins will have a major impact on the 2008-2009 season. "The freshmen will play a major role in our success this season. They are all impact players," said Van Buskirk.
Holy Cross will face a tough non-conference schedule. The Crusaders will play host to Sacred Heart (Nov. 25) and Connecticut College (Dec. 2), and then hit the road at Wesleyan (Dec. 9) before the end of the fall semester. After the New Year, the Crusaders will continue non-conference action at Colby (Jan. 6) and home with Trinity (Jan. 20).
The Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference will be competitive again in 2008-2009. "The top finishers from last season will once again be strong and combined with the improvement of the lower teams, create a well-balanced conference," expects Van Buskirk. The Crusaders were selected third in the ECAC Women's East Hockey League preseason poll behind last season's top finisher Manhattanville and number two Saint Anselm.
Returning 8, Lost 4, Newcomers 3
Holy Cross has a good mix of returning players, combined with fresh talent that will make for an exciting offensive threat this season. The Crusaders return eight forwards from last season's squad. Together the returning forwards scored 45 goals for the Crusaders. Holy Cross' offensive strength will come from the first two lines ability to score goals.
Co-captain Couzin will lead the forwards and together with Kratchmer and Hochkins make up an explosive and well balanced first line. Holy Cross's second line will be equally as balanced and led by D'Ambrogio combined with Kelley and Garat to create a powerful second line. The Crusaders' third line will be made up of O'Connor, Hillen, Nobrega, Pfund and McGhee.
Returning 4, Lost 4, Newcomers 2
The Crusader defense will be the strength of the team. Holy Cross returns four defensemen from last year's squad and welcomes two newcomers to the line. This season the Crusaders will have the strongest defense in coach Van Buskirk's career. Co-captain Wilson, along with Doherty, Krmpotich and Henry, combined for 22 goals last season. The returning defensemen will use their collegiate experience to lead the strong defensive front and create offense for the Crusaders. Newcomers Miller and McIntosh will step into active roles and provide Holy Cross with an extra defensive punch.
Returning 2, Lost 1, Newcomers 1
Competition will be the key to success at the goaltender position for the Crusaders this season. Sophomores Gallant and Atkinson will compete with freshman Dominick-Sobol for the starting role. Gallant saw the majority of the minutes in the 2007-2008 season starting in 22 games with 50 goals allowed and a .899 save percentage. In an injury plagued season, Atkinson started in five games for the Crusaders with 17 goals allowed and a .848 save percentage. Coach Van Buskirk is looking for a goalie that can consistently perform all season and expects all three to see action as Gallant has the experience, Atkinson is healthy and Dominick-Sobol is very capable of contributing right away.