Youthful women's hockey will challenge conference powers

This year’s team isn’t expecting to overtake either dynasty just yet, in Head Coach Jim Plumer’s second season behind the bench. However, that doesn’t mean the Jeffs aren’t capable of playing the spoilers in the toughest women’s hockey conference in Div. III. “I do think we are moving closer to the top teams but we are still very young (two-thirds of the team are first-years and sophomores),” said Plumer. “It will take some time to see how things come together. It is always our goal to get better as the season goes along, so if that happens and we stay healthy, we will be good enough to give anybody a scare.”

The graduation of forwards Ali White ’04 and co-captain Tory Serues ’04 on offense and co-captain Amanda Muller ’04 on defense leaves the Jeffs with some serious leadership holes to fill after leading last year’s team to the most wins in school history. With 13 wins and 12 losses, the Jeffs secured the fifth spot in the NESCAC regular-season standings before bowing out to Hamilton College, 6-1, in the first round of the postseason tournament.

Co-captains Sarah Mason ’05 and Amanda Mattei ’06 seem poised to take the talented Jeffs to the next level and feel as though this team has enough drive and talent to get out of the first round of the NESCAC Tournament for the first time. “I can’t say enough about what a fabulous job that the captains have done in enhancing the team chemistry with this group,” said Plumer. “It is definitely the hardest-working group of athletes I have been around in five years of college coaching.”

“We expect a lot from each other as a team and set the precedent of hard work from the beginning,” said Mason.

One stalwart in the Jeffs’ lineup is Lindsay Grabowski ’07. Grabowski, one of the smallest goaltenders in the NESCAC, played every minute for the Jeffs last season as a first-year, compiling a .871 save percentage and a 3.52 goals against average.

On offense, the Jeffs return leading scorer Renee Sisti ’06, who added 14 goals and 12 assists last season to her already impressive first-year resume. Alena Harrison ’07, Leah Kaplan ’06 and Emily Cronin ’07 scored eight, seven and six goals, respectively, last year and will definitely add significantly to those totals.

Sophomore Rachel Simon, a Second-Team All-NESCAC selection last year and a pre-season Third-Team All-U.S. College Hockey Online selection this year, will anchor the Jeff defense along with Mattei. Simon tied Sisti for the team lead with 14 goals, including three game-winners. Sophomores Tes Siarnacki, Meg Dickoff and Kirsten Forsberg all saw significant playing time as first-years and will continue to improve.

With such a young team, Plumer has much to look forward to both this season and in years to come. With games this weekend at home against Trinity College and Wesleyan University, the Jeffs hope they can get off to a hot start and skate with momentum toward the top of the NESCAC.