By Menelik Epee-Bounya
Girls Varsity Hockey (GVH) has struggled to reclaim the momentum it had during last winter’s more successful 15–11–1 season but still holds a respectable record of 11–9–1 as of February 8, returning Head Coach Ed Bourget ’94 said.
Lead by Co-Captains Jackie Diffley, Eliza Perry, Bradley Fusco, Allyson Noenickx, and Cara Najjar (all ’15), the mature team includes eight freshmen, six sophomores, five juniors, six seniors, and eighth-graders Alexandra Schmalz and Mia Fusco (both ’19). Bradley and Cara will play varsity hockey next year at Harvard University and Brown University, respectively.
Despite its many talented players, the team hasn’t yet achieved its full potential. Defense Audrey O’Neil ’17 said the team has been hurt by its inability to string together wins. They started the season strong with a 3–0 win against Philips Academy but then fell into the habit of alternating between two- to three-game winning or losing streaks.
“Whenever we win a few games, we seem to lose a couple in a row right after,” Audrey said. “We need to concentrate and really try to fight through those tough games.”
Eliza said a general lack of confidence has also impeded the team’s progress.
“In order to succeed, our team needs to believe in ourselves instead of going into the game thinking that we will lose,” she said. “We need to go onto the ice believing that we are unstoppable.”
Bradley said she hopes the team’s tenacity will help them finish the season on a good note. She pointed to an away game against Rivers on January 21, when the team came back after trailing their opponents 2–0 going into the third period.
“We clawed our way back from that deficit and ended up winning the game 3–2 with a lot of energy, grit, and passion from every single girl,” she said.
Nell Fusco ’17 said she treasures the opportunity to play alongside both her sisters, Mia and Bradley.
“It’s something that will never happen again, so we’re taking full advantage of it and having a great time,” Nell said.
The team will face the Williston Northampton School in its final game on Saturday, February 25, when it will seek to avenge previous losses in the Harrington and Winchendon Tournaments.