Youthful women’s hockey enters season ranked second nationally

Head coach Joe Milan is entering his third season at the helm of the women’s ice hockey team, having amassed a 36-14-1 record over his first two seasons. Last year, the Ephwomen posted an impressive 20-6-1 record, finishing second in the ECAC to conference rival Middlebury, and fourth in the nation.

The Ephs made it all the way to the national semi-finals before losing a heartbreaking 2-1 game to Gustavus Adolphus College. Fans should be optimistic heading into the 2001-2002 season. The Ephs only lost one player to graduation, and have a young, but experienced team returning.

The Ephs will be heading into the 2001-02 season led by tri-captains Sophie De La Barra ’02, Caitlin Bowler ’02 and Amanda Weber ’02. In the first official USCHO Div III pre-season poll, the team was ranked second in the nation.

The Ephs won’t have to look far for competition, however, as two other NESCAC teams were ranked among the top-five in the nation, including top-ranked Middlebury and fourth-ranked Bowdoin.

This is the first year that women’s ice hockey will be recognized nationally as a NCAA sport. Milan’s team has one goal in mind. Milan stated, “Our objective this year is to make it to the first official NCAA women’s hockey tournament.”

Last year, the team proved that the Ephs can compete with the best teams in the nation, and Milan expects nothing less this year.

“We got a taste of what it was like to be near the top last season, and our goal is to build on that and strive to be even better this year,” he said.

Molly Wasserman ’04 is entering only her second season, but has already established herself as a team leader. Last year, Wasserman was the first Eph player to be named first team all-American. She led the nation in scoring with 39 goals, and also amassed 29 assists, tying teammate Tori Scott ’04 for the Eph’s single season assist record.

Julia Karoly ’03 scored 10 goals last season, while only playing half of the season due to injury. The Ephs can expect a strong offensive contribution from a healthy Karoly, along with Lisa Haney ’03 and Liz Toomey ’03, as well as Bonnie Lui ’04.

Milan is a little concerned with some early-season injuries, especially on defense.

Last year’s starting goalie, Monelle Quevillon ’03, one of the elite goalies in the league, is out for the time-being due to a knee-injury from the field hockey season. But Milan is very confident about the abilities of Anna MacIntosh ’02 and Fern Senior ’04, who will be facing off for the goalie spot.

The defense will be looking for leadership from the sole senior defender, Hillary Weinblatt ’02, and the only other upper-class defensive player, Megan Bullock ’03.

Although seemingly a little thin on defense, there are a number of Ephwomen underclassman ready to step up to the challenge, including Liz Hodgman ’05 and Wendy Stone ’05.

Milan is “very excited about a talented group of first-years that can come in and contribute to the team right away.”

Three other first-years, Meara Ryan, Annie Snodgrass, and Gigi Stender, will all be looking to contribute to a winning season.

Women’s hockey will open its season this Friday against Hamilton at Lansing-Chapman Skating Rink at 7:00 p.m.