The UVM women’s club hockey team took a trip to Minnesota to play in the national tournament over spring break. This is the first time that the program has made it this far.
While the team has been recognized as a club team for four years, they have only been part of the NEWCHL league for two.
“The coaches and girls were extremely excited to make it to nationals,” coach Mike Kiefer said. “The team has a lot to be proud of; being selected as one of the top six teams in the league is very impressive. This is a big step for such a new program, and I feel the experience will prove to be valuable as the team continues to grow next year.”
The team took on opponents from the University of Delaware, Rainy River Community College and the University of South Dakota. Although the team put forth a strong effort, they were defeated in the tournament.
“We lost to UD 3-2, Rainy River 4-1 and South Dakota 7-4,” junior captain Joanna Riley said. “The competition at this tournament was a lot more intense than what we are used to in our regular season.”
The final game for fifth place was against South Dakota. The team was down 6-1 in the third period but they didn’t stop fighting. They scored three goals within the final twenty minutes making it 6-4.
South Dakota scored once again bringing the game to a close at 7-4.
“This was the program’s first trip to nationals ever, and I thought we played well,” Kiefer said. “Obviously we didn’t get the results we were hoping for when we arrived in Minnesota, but we did prove we can play with anyone in our league.”
Although the team did not come out with the championship title, they still finished sixth in the league. They are confident about the upcoming years and hope to make it to nationals once again.
“I really expect that we will make it to nationals again, and our program is only going to get stronger so our chances of winning will only increase,” sophomore Hope Simpson said.