Morgan Golliver, Sports Editor
The Utica College women’s hockey team kicked off the 2018 season with nine straight wins, which was the best start in its 17-year history of the program.
While head coach Dave Clausen appreciated that his team was able to get off to a great start, he is more focused on how the rest of the season will play out.
“It’s obviously nice to get a quick start and be in a good position moving into the second half of the season, but in 2001-2002 we started 8-0,” Clausen said. “Mid-January, our record was 8-8-1, so it’s important to remember at this level that you have to stay focused.
“The more success we have, the more of a target you put on your back for games moving forward. We will get everyone’s best game the rest of the year.”
Clausen also said his team was able to accomplish this great start by the amount of effort everyone put in.
“It’s important that we keep our complete level high, regardless of our opponent and our success level,” Clausen said. “It’s easy to fall off if you feel like success is coming easily. We have a number of very tough teams coming up on our schedule, so we will need to stay focused and push ourselves.”
Junior forward Olivia Hirschy expressed the hot start as an “unreal” feeling after the team won their ninth consecutive game.
“Everyone had a smile on their face, and it was an awesome environment to be around,” Hirschy said. “It was probably one of the best feelings I’ve ever had playing hockey and I’ve been playing hockey since I was five.”
Hirschy also reiterated Coach Clausen’s remarks about the team’s effort.
“All of us were putting in effort in each of those games,” Hirschy said. “We had a few rough starts, but after the first period, Coach would come in and talk to us and say, ‘If we want to win this, we have to put effort in, and if we put effort in we’ll get the results we want,’ and that’s exactly what kept happening.”
As a forward and defender, junior Rebecca Brown contributed 11 points with six goals and five assists during the 9-0 start. However, Brown said the team as a whole contributed.
“Everyone contributed a lot during the hot streak,” Brown said. “But my linemates did help me a lot, and it takes a whole line to be good, not just one person.”
On Nov. 27, Utica suffered their first loss to Morrisville State, 4-2, as their late comeback came up short.
Clausen called this loss a “learning lesson.”
“Morrisville was a tough game for us,” he said. “We didn’t handle the turn around from Sunday’s win at Hamilton very well and came out very flat. Hopefully, it’s a lesson that we have to bring our best effort every night.”
Brown also said the time frame in between the Hamilton and the Morrisville games from Sunday to Tuesday was short.
This short timeframe took a toll on the players physically and mentally, even though the team was looking forward to continuing their win streak.
“In every other game, we wanted to win and wanted to get to 9-0,” Brown said. “Once we got to 9-0, I think we wanted to get to 10-0, but we didn’t work hard enough to get there.”
After the loss, Brown said the team had time to rest and recover and prepare for Middlebury.
“Middlebury is not a team we want to lose to and not a team that we’re going to lose to,” Brown said. “I feel like having that mentality is bringing more focus to practice and more urgency in practice because we want to win so bad.”
UC hosts Middlebury this Saturday, Dec. 8, at 4 p.m. at the Adirondack Bank Center.