Posted: Nov 13, 2017
Williamstown, MA-The Ephs 2016-2017 season ended in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC championships against the the Connecticut College Camels. With a season record of 10-13-2, the Ephs are hungry for improvement and working hard in the preseason before their first game, this Friday, Nov. 17 against Hamilton. The game will be played at home at 7:00 PM.
"Preseason has been going well. The team came back with a renewed outlook on practice and what it takes for us to play our best," head coach Meghan Gillis said. "Last year 2nd through 7th place in the NESCAC was decided on the very last day of the regular season, and we know how competitive and tight the league will continue to be this year."
The Ephs graduated five seniors last year: Sara Lehman, Chelsey Stevenson, Emily Krueger, Hanna Beattie, Caitlin Buckley. Of these five, Lehman and Stevenson were the 2016-2017 leading scorers with thirteen and eight goals respectively. Sara Lehman was also named to the 2017 All-NESCAC Women's Ice Hockey Second Team.
"We graduated 3 of our top 4 point getters last season (Lehman, Stevenson, and Krueger), so we are eager to see which returners will step up to fill those shoes in addition to the first-years," Gilllis said.
The seniors for the 2017-2018 season have big shoes to fill but are a strong class in themselves. The team will be led by seniors Kearan Burke and Emily Eide. "Both Burke and Eide have done a great job stepping into the role of captain," Gillis said.
Burke, a forward, played in all 25 games last season and amounted five goals and eight total points. This adds to her career total of eleven goals and eighteen points. Her co-captain, Eide is a defensemen and assisted the Ephs to successfully penalty kill of 82.6% last season.
The senior class also includes Alex Lovaas, Candace Lu, and Christina Cleroux. Cleroux guarded the Williams net in ten games last season. She saved 92.9% of the shots taken at her. Lovaas looks to lead up front with Burke and Lu provides speed at defense.
"The goal for this group is to come together and practice at our highest level consistently," Gillis said. "It seems simple, but we've really broken down the process as a group and are attempting to find a way to bring a compelled atmosphere to practice each day."
The Ephs will also return a strong junior and sophomore class, which speaks to the depth of the team. Of the top ten leading scorers from last season, five are juniors. Abby Brustad, Olivia Stokes, Annie Rush, Eliza Quigley, and Anna Fucillo have all shown their prowess in enemy territory. Brustad racked up four goals and fourteen points, good for third on the team. Rush scored three goals and Stokes, Quigley, and Fucillo all scored two. Also from this class is defenseman Claire Mancheski. Of the six juniors, three were named to the American Hockey Coaches Association All-American Scholars Award, Brustad, Fucillo, and Stokes. They joined alum Sara Lehman and sophomore Mia Carroll in receiving the honor.
Carroll, part of the sophomore class, is one of six in the class. Carroll was the leading scorer in her class, scoring her first two college goals last season. The class also includes Amanda Reisman, Hallie Whitmore and Sarah Michels who all battled injuries for large chunks of last season, and look to 17-18 for a fresh start. Rounding out the class is defenseman Caroline Dignard and goalie Marissa Anderson who has proven to compete consistently with Cleroux for the starting spot. Marissa Anderson saw the most time between the pipes and boasts a 90.6% save record.
"Last year, we were in so many close games that we brought in a group of first years that we think are going to help increase the offense this season. We have a talented group of first-years that have had a lot of success at the high school and club team level," Gillis said.
The first year class includes five forwards, one defenseman and one forward/defender in Georgia Keogh. The class as a whole has competed and won at almost all levels of high school and club hockey. Keogh, a graduate of Shattuck-St Mary's (MN) won 2 national championships at Shattuck alongside fellow first year forward Avery Dunn who won 3 national championships during her time there. Forward Michaela O'Connor won two National Championships in her career with Assabet and is the all-time leading scorer at Winsor School. Brynn Puppe is an offensive defender, entering the elusive 100 point club last January with the Northfield Raiders MN High School team. Forward Sara Levitt, also from MN, won three state championships with Blake School during her high school career. Forward Gabi Montembeault from Glencoe, IL reached USA Hockey semi-finals four times in her career with CYA, and won the national championship once. Last, but certainly not least is 5'10" forward Meghan Halloran who will play both hockey and lacrosse here at Williams and was a key piece to rebuilding the hockey program at Deerfield Academy.
The team's debut will be on Nov. 17 and 18. They wil start their season at home with two conference match-ups against Hamilton.