By Kirti Chakote
“1, 2, 3, U,” roared the women’s hockey team in a huddle after a hard evening practice, one that was aimed at preparing for what the team expects to be a much improved season of hockey.
In her fourth season as coach of the women’s hockey team, Claudia Asano Barcomb is optimistic for what her team (comprised of 17 returners, six freshmen and one transfer) has to offer.
“A lot of freshmen have come in and they are going to contribute right away. The seniors and other veterans have come back in shape and ready to go,” Barcomb said.
Last year was a frustrating one for the Dutchwomen, as 14 losses resulted from a one-goal difference. Opportunity after opportunity, the hockey team couldn’t capitalize and put the puck in the net.
However, through several practices this year, Barcomb says that she is already seeing a difference in the team’s performance.
“It’s hard to compare, but some of the freshmen coming in can definitely put the puck in the net. So I think that is going to be really good for us,” she said. Along with the increased scoring, the team has shown great chemistry, better discipline and more focus.
Entering her senior year on defense, captain Dania Simmonds stated, “Everyone is on board this year. Especially with the Marine Corps training we went through, we are all just ready to go and make some numbers this year.”
Although the ECAC conference play doesn’t start for the women’s hockey team until Oct. 28, the Dutchwomen had their first test of the year against fourth ranked University of Minnesota last Friday.
The Gophers got on the scoreboard first, scoring two goals before the first intermission. Union tried to retaliate with freshman Camille Corbin’s first career goal two minutes into the second period, during a power play opportunity. However, Union was not able to score again for the rest of the game, and they fell short, losing 6-1.
There were some positive signs from the game, as they were able to kill two of the three power plays by Minnesota, and freshman goalie Shenae Lundberg made her Union debut, receiving her first career start and saving 29 shots.
The Dutchwomen were back in action the next night against St. Cloud, a team that also had a rough time last season. Just like the night before, the opposing team scored two goals before Union could manage to get the puck into the net.
In a 2-0 hole, freshman Christine Valente scored her first career goal in the second period to provide some relief. Union was not able to rally back and suffered a 4-1 loss.
Despite the losses, the Dutchwomen are in full spirits for what the season has to bring, and they believe this team has what it takes to go far this year.
“The big thing is that we are very comfortable this year with everyone. We have a huge senior class and a lot of other veterans on the team to help get the freshmen going. We have played together a lot and think that is going to help us so much this year,” stated goalie Kate Gallagher ‘12, an assistant captain.
They have their home opener against Sacred Heart on Oct. 8 at 4 p.m.