Oct. 25, 2007
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - The Yale women's hockey team has always prided itself on being a whole greater than the sum of its parts. That formula will be even more important than usual in 2007-08, with 43 of last year's school-record 96 goals lost to graduation. Here is a position-by-position look at the Bulldogs:
With no pure forwards in the senior class, Yale will rely on a talented junior class for production and leadership. Crysti Howser's 34 career goals are the most on the team, 22 more than any other returnee. She led the team in scoring the past two years despite missing 11 games while playing soccer for Yale. That will not be the case this season, as she is now playing hockey full-time and made the U.S. Under-22 team this past summer.
Howser's classmate Maggie Westfal still spends her falls on the pitch and will join the hockey team once soccer season is over. Westfal started her hockey career as a forward, then was switched to defense late in her freshman year to fortify a depleted blueline corps. The Bulldogs liked what they saw from her back there so much they kept her on defense last season, but this year she may move to forward to fill the void left by a large graduating class. The team needs her scoring touch, and she has the chance to improve on the numbers she posted last year (1-10-11).
The junior class also includes Sarah Tittman, whose do-all-the-little-things-right approach makes her a true leader by example for this group. She is one of the team's top penalty killers, as is Danielle Kozlowski. Kozlowski and classmate Kristen Stupay are the only juniors to have appeared in all 62 games the past two years. Stupay, who has also seen time on defense, has the skills to contribute at both ends of the ice.
The sophomore class includes Denise Soesilo, a member of the German Olympic Team, who finished fifth on the team with seven goals last year. Soesilo's skating ability and offensive creativity make her one of the team's top scoring threats. Classmate Mandi Schwartz scored five goals, including one of the biggest of the year -- the game-tying goal at Harvard in game two of the ECAC quarterfinals with 2:36 left. If Schwartz carries the momentum from that big tally over to this season, she can become an impact player. Hard-working Caroline Murphy, who had one goal and three assists while not incurring a single penalty in 24 games, is intent on making a difference this year too.
The Bulldogs are confident that the lone freshman forward, Bray Ketchum (Greenwich, Conn.), can contribute immediately. She is a four-time USA Hockey camp attendee and was the Boston Globe NEPSAC Women's Athlete of the Year last season for Greenwich Academy.
Captain Ann-Renée Guillemette is the Bulldogs' most experienced player, with 88 games. She is the only senior defenseman, so the junior class will play a key role on the blue line. U.S. Olympian Helen Resor is the cornerstone, with 12 goals and 26 assists for her career. Resor's slap shot provides instant offense and makes her one of the most dangerous blueliners in the country. Resor's cousin, classmate Carry Resor, is a disciplined player who has incurred only five penalties in 46 career games. Carlee Ness missed last season with an injury but, if healthy, can be a factor. She had eight assists in 27 games as a freshman.
The sophomore class includes two talented players who spent much of last season as a defensive pair. Alyssa Clarke and Berit Johnson combined for 17 points (two goals and seven assists for Clarke, two goals and six assists for Johnson). Freshmen Samantha MacLean (Mississauga, Ont.) and Lili Rudis (Chicago, Ill.) will be counted on for significant ice time as well. MacLean played in the NWHL at the age of 16, becoming one of the youngest players in the league's history. Rudis has international experience from spending a year in Switzerland, where she played in the Swiss Amateur Ice Hockey League with several Olympians.
A year has made a big difference for Yale at this crucial position. After spending the first two seasons of her career learning behind record-setting netminder Sarah Love, Shivon Zilis took over last year and is now a playoff-tested senior. She finished with the fifth-best save percentage (.908) and goals-against average (2.69) in school history, posting some of her best save totals against some of Yale's toughest competition -- including a career-high 50 against Mercyhurst when the Lakers were the No. 1 team in the country.
The Bulldogs are also excited about the addition of freshman Jackee Snikeris (Downingtown, Pa.), a five-time USA Hockey camp selection. She will be given a chance to contribute immediately.
report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity