After sophomore season, records fall to Wasserman

Somebody needs to tell Molly Wasserman ’04 that she is good. Last year’s Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) rookie of the year, the first Eph women’s hockey player to be named All-American and now the all-time Eph leader in goals and points with 74 and 119, respectively, Wasserman would still have you believe that she’s not a goal-scorer.

“I’ve never been a goal-scorer; I do the dirty work and mess up plays for the other team,” said Wasserman.

The Minnesota native, who grew up playing hockey on a lake with her brother, exploded on to the Div. III hockey scene last year and has hardly looked back. In the team’s second game of last year’s season, against 13th-ranked Sacred Heart, Wasserman recorded a third period hat trick and assisted on two other goals to lead the team to a 5-0 victory.

Since that game, Wasserman has emerged as the clear leader of a team that went to the national semifinals last year and beat national number one Middlebury for only the second time in 42 games last weekend. In two years here, Wasserman has sent 13 game-winners past the opposing goalie.

Of those 13, however, her third period game-winner against Middlebury is among the most satisfying. Down 1-0 in the third, the situation looked bleak for the Ephs – until Wasserman took over. Her first goal, which set the Eph point record, was a power play rebound off a Karen Thome ’03 shot. The game-winner came with just over two minutes remaining on the clock as Wasserman hustled past a defender and scored alone on a breakaway.

Remarkably, Wasserman wasn’t even sure if she would be able to play this season. Hampered by a bad back, she saw her workout regiment go from weight-lifting to merely walking.

“Going from lifting and sweating to taking a walk was really mentally difficult,” said Wasserman. “I’m not where I would like to be. Before the injury, I was in the best shape I’d ever been in. It was so easy for me to put a little more effort in to get around a player. This year, I really couldn’t do that.”

Hard work and time with a trainer got Wasserman back on the ice and a second stellar season has put her on a short list of finalists for the 2002 American Hockey Coaches Association College Division player of the year. Wasserman also attributes some of her success this year to the development of her mental game.

“I used to get so excited at times that I just couldn’t play. My head would be somewhere else and I’d get penalties. Last year in the playoffs against Manhattanville, they put a player on me the entire game and from minute two on I was getting excited and just couldn’t play.”

So if Wasserman isn’t a goal scorer, how has she become such a prolific goal scoring machine? “A lot of scoring is being in the right place at the right time,” she said. According to Wasserman, the credit belongs to her teammates who have gotten her the puck all season long – especially Tori Scott ’04, who leads the team in assists with 25.

“One of the great things about a team sport is it is not one or two people who shine – everybody is working,” said Wasserman. “It’s great to be on a team that’s so unselfish. I’m honestly just the one who happens to touch the puck before it goes in.” Yet despite Wasserman’s fantastic season, the team has met with less success than many expected coming off last year’s performance. With the nucleus of last year’s team returning, another run towards nationals seemed possible.

Then the injury bug hit, and not only Wasserman was afflicted. Katie Nichol ’04, last year’s first-year defensive standout, went down with an injury and has not played all season long. Then, at the end of the fall field hockey season, Monelle Quevillon ’03, one of the top goalies in the league, injured her knee. Those injuries, along with Wasserman’s back injury, have led to a roller-coaster season for the talented, yet still young, team. Wasserman has high hopes for the team over the next couple of years and is hopeful that they’ll reach nationals again. As for her own play, she really doesn’t know what to expect.

“I might not get any points next year,” said Wasserman. “Every year, the league is going to get better. There are still things I can accomplish skill-wise and fitness-wise though to make me a better overall player. If I’d been able to come into this season in better condition then the team would have been a lot more exciting – I would have accomplished more and the team would have as well.”

It might be news to Wasserman, but anyone who has followed women’s hockey over the last two years knows one thing – Molly Wasserman’s going to be a pretty good goal scorer next season.