Colgate women’s ice hockey took a shot at the NCAA championship in the final game against No. 1 Clarkson in March. Although the Raiders lost 2-1 in overtime, the team boasted several milestones in Minneapolis.
This postseason was Colgate’s best in program history, with 34 victories, a regular-season ECAC Hockey title, an appearance in the conference title game, and an NCAA Tournament bid. The final game was also the second longest in the tournament’s history.
“All year we had ups and downs,” forward Breanne Wilson-Bennett ’18 said. “The game plan is always the same no matter if we’re high or low. We just try and do what we do, and that brought us success.”
Wilson-Bennett scored a personal achievement during the first game in the Frozen Four. In the game against No. 2 Wisconsin, she recorded her first career hat trick — just the seventh in NCAA women’s Frozen Four history.
Head Coach Greg Fargo also celebrated a personal victory: He was named USCHO.com Women’s Division I Coach of the Year and awarded the title of 2017–18 CCM/American Hockey Coaches Association Women’s Division I National Coach of the Year.
For Raiders graduating this spring, the tournament was an especially reverent opportunity.
Seven seniors — Wilson-Bennett, Kaila Pinkney, Shelby Perry, Megan Sullivan, Ellie DeCaprio, Annika Zalewski, and Lauren Wildfang — saw the team transform throughout their four years. The Raiders won only seven games in these seniors’ first year, and in their senior season, the team finished as national runners-up.
“We brought [this group] in and you could see that things were changing with them,” Fargo said. “[They did] all of the right things day in and day out and [did] not waver from that. More than ever, we had the right people at the right time for our program.”
(top photo by Brad Rempel)
Rise in academic honor roll
The 2017 Raider Academic Honor Roll comprises 491 student-athletes, cheerleaders, and student trainers. To be eligible, members had to achieve a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.25; this year’s class comprises 42 who achieved perfect 4.0 GPAs in at least one semester last year.
Six student-athletes achieved 4.0s in both the spring and fall semesters: Kelly Haberl ’18 (women’s lacrosse), Aidan Kutner ’18 (men’s cross country/track and field), Denise Larson ’19 (women’s cross country/track and field), Bruno Scodari ’18 (men’s soccer), Sebastian Weberg ’18 (men’s hockey), and Kelly Klein ’18 (women’s tennis).
This year’s total number of honor-roll recipients represents a 6.5 percent increase over last year’s 461 members.
Angela Marathakis, assistant athletic director and director of Student-Athlete Academic Services, served as master of ceremonies. The keynote speaker was Provost and Dean of the Faculty Tracey Hucks ’87, MA’90. Jenn Lutman, director of the Writing and Speaking Center, presented the 4.0 awards. Also joining the student-athletes to honor their academic achievements were President Brian W. Casey and Vice President and Director of Athletics Victoria M. Chun ’91, MA’94, along with other members of the President’s Cabinet, faculty, faculty liaisons, athletic administrators, coaches, and staff.
Historic season for men’s basketball
The men’s basketball team’s valiant comeback attempt came up just short in a 72–68 loss against University of San Francisco in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational March 14.
Colgate’s historic season came to a close, but not before the Raiders set a program record. Here are the highlights:
— Program-record 19 wins
— First national postseason appearance since a pair of NCAA Tournament showings in 1995 and 1996
— 13 home wins; ties program record and marks the most in 91 years (1926–27)
— First Patriot League Championship game appearance since 2008
— First overall winning season since 2007–08
Playing it cool
A few days after returning from the NCAA women’s ice hockey championship in Minneapolis, goalie Julia Vandyk ’19 sat down with the Scene to reflect on her career.
When did you start playing hockey?
Around age 6. I wanted to be a goalie from the start, but my dad was a goalie and wouldn’t let me. He understood the pressure and wanted to protect me. When I was 11 or 12, my parents finally allowed me to become a goalie and I was the happiest kid ever.
Do you ever find it difficult to handle the pressure?
The mental side of the game is the most challenging part. It’s important to not dwell on goals. If you get scored on, the only thing that matters is how you respond. You don’t want it to get in your head. I’ve had issues with that in the past.
We have a team psychologist, Bruce Crowley ’79. He really helped me this season to focus on being in the moment, not worry about things I can’t control, and play free. I tend to overthink, and I’m hard on myself. He’s helped me develop strategies to perform at my best.
When someone scores on me, I’m allowed to think about the goal for a couple of seconds, and then there’s something I do that signals me to move on. Right before the next face-off, I tap my post, and then I’m not allowed to think about it again.
How did you feel when you won the semifinals?
I was completely exhausted and relieved. There was so much hype about that game because we were playing Wisconsin, the team that was ranked number one for most of the season. I knew we had the capability to win. When we scored that final goal after almost two full overtime periods, I started crying because I was so happy our team had done it.
In the finals, when Clarkson scored the winning goal, you fell to your knees and cried. What were you feeling?
It was deflating. In the moment, it felt like the worst thing in the world had just happened. And it felt like I’d let down my team. That whole night, I was not thinking about all the accomplishments and broken records. I was just thinking about that one terrible moment.
[Afterward,] the team spent every night together. We are really grateful and proud. There is a consensus that no one would trade the memories and experiences we’ve shared for a national championship win.
— Interview by Sara Furlong
The brief: sports edition
From Raider to Bulldog. Vice President and Director of Athletics Victoria Chun ’91, MA’94 is off to the Ivies. She was named the director of athletics at Yale University, effective July 1. Chun was recently named Division I FCS Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year.
“He’s the one who first got me into hockey… He gives me advice and his thoughts on the game.”
— Kyle Baun ’16 talks to SportingNews about following in his grandfather Bobby Baun’s footsteps by joining the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Picked by his peers. Men’s basketball head coach Matt Langel was voted as the 2018 Patriot League Coach of the Year, while four Raiders collected All-Patriot League honors.
Solid gold. Men’s ice hockey goaltender Colton Point ’20 and Team Canada won the gold medal and were crowned champions at the IIHF World Junior Championships. Point is the first Colgate men’s ice hockey player to win a gold medal at the World Junior Championships since the tournament’s inception in 1974.
Good game. Jesse Winchester ’08, head coach of the Brockville Braves, was named Coach of the Year by the Central Canada Hockey League. “He brings a fire every day to the ice,” Braves goaltender Justin Everson told ChooseCornwall.ca.
“Even though so much has changed since I was here, it still felt very familiar and very much like I spent time at a place I enjoyed being at.”
— Dorothy Donaldson ’05, a former softball player, on coming back to campus for the Hall of Honor Induction Ceremony in September