Nick McAdam, Tangerine Clerk
The Utica College Pioneer women’s hockey team is currently seeking an improvement from last season after finishing 15-10-2 overall.
Despite a 4-7-2 record in the road, the Pioneers were an impressive 11-3-0 at the Adirondack Bank Center last year, which included a pair of shutout victories against Hamilton College and Lebanon Valley College.
Now, this year’s campaign for the Pioneers will begin on the road against Becker College in Worcester, Mass.
Among the players who will look to start the season of right for UC is forward/defender Kyra Borsoi. Last season, Borsoi notched six assists in 22 games from the defensive position.
During the offseason, the women’s hockey team was assigned a summer workout program through the Sports Performance Institute (SPI). Borsoi and the rest of the Pioneers hope that the detailed training during the offseason pays off by the end of the year.
“As a team, we were all given a summer workout program that was extremely detailed,” Borsoi said. “I believe that this helped us a lot coming into the fall. We continued working out with Nate Fredsell, who is a trainer at SPI, throughout the beginning of the fall. I believe that all this hard work off the ice will help benefit each individual on the team.”
Aside from assigned training sessions given by the staff, players, such as senior defender Noelle Capriglione, have been working to build muscle for the nearly 30-game season dawning ahead.
“I have been building muscle and skating during the summer to increase my abilities and skills on the ice,” Capriglione said. “By enhancing my abilities I’m able to make plays and to take shots that would benefit my team by scoring or helping my team to break out of the zone.”
Position responsibilities come with a host of different challenges for both Borsoi and Capriglione. This is especially the case for Borsoi, who is one of the five players including Ali McFadden, Lindsey Winter, Katrina Cornick and Rebecca Brown who play both offense and defense.
Borsoi credits her assigned roles on the ice to her development as a player. Players get their feet wet with experience on both ends, as a handful on the team are first-year or sophomore players.
“I think it’s helped me develop as a player,” Borsoi said. “Knowing how to play both positions allows me to know what each player on the ice is supposed to be doing. The only downside to playing both positions is that it always takes me a shift to readjust on the ice. Other than that, that’s the only challenge I have during a game when I switch from forward to defense in a game.”
Despite on-ice challenges, both Capriglione and Borsoi give a lot of credit to Pioneers’ head coach Dave Clausen, who has echoed forgiveness for mistakes while valuing hard work.
Physical and mental elements have some sort of role in sports. To set the proper mental tone for the upcoming campaign, Clausen has repeated messages that have stuck with both Capriglione and Borsoi along with the rest of the Pioneers.
“It goes something like this: ‘Hungry dogs run faster,’” Borsoi said. “If we want to succeed as a team we must work harder to win. I think all my teammates take this to heart because we all want to give 110 percent during every practice, workout, and game.”
“He (Clausen) doesn’t care if we mess up, only if we are working hard and skating our fastest,” Capriglione said. “For me, going into the season I have made it my goal to play for the glory of God.”