Agony scratched at the girls for two full periods until the game reached its end. With only one point that gave them the upper hand, their only focus was to keep the puck away from the vicinity of their own goal.
On March 18, the girls’ varsity hockey team won the MIAA Division II state championship game at TD Garden in Boston, defeating the Canton Bulldogs with a final score of 1-0.
The team, coached by Paul Donato, has appeared at the state championship game for the past four of five years, including this year, but this year marks the first time in that five year period that they have lifted the trophy. The last time that they had won this title was in 2006.
Jenna Harrison ’18 scored the one goal that tilted the victory towards Wellesley with four seconds left in the first period. Harrison skated down the right side of the rink, slid the puck through the legs of a Canton defenseman, retrieved it after skating past the defenseman, and then shot the puck above the goalie’s left hand at the right side of the goal.
Olivia Vernon ’18, one of the team’s captains, anticipated the goal as soon as she saw Jenna’s breakaway. “I have seen her make amazing plays in practice and games and knew she had the talent. She is also always so collected and can control the puck so well,” Vernon said.
The level of shock that consumed the team was high that afternoon. Schulz recalled that her teammates still tease her because “all the skaters had to skate towards me since I just froze because I was so shocked to even realize that we won.”
Liddy Schulz ’20, who plays goalie for the team, felt that Wellesley’s experience in state championship games balanced out the burden of responsibility she and her teammates felt. “The juniors and seniors were scared and we were all anxious because we didn’t want to go through second place again. We kept reminding ourselves that Canton only played last year but did not make it as many years as we did,” Schulz said.
Schulz touched upon the vigorous training sessions that the team participated in to make it to the state championship game. “We had practices at 6:00 AM, 9:00 PM, and we saw that all the time we spent went towards that day. I was shocked to realize that we did it. ‘We are here,’ I thought,” she said.
As the goalie of the team, Schulz experienced the game very differently from her teammates. One of the feelings she felt was fear of the unknown, specifically how many times the puck would be shot towards her direction. “Sometimes, I only get one or two shots in a period and sometimes I get ten. I never know what to expect. With this game specifically, I think I got like ten to fifteen shots throughout the game, which is not a lot,” Schulz said.
Like any team, the girls were not without their superstitions. “During every bus ride to a game, everyone sat in the same seats for good luck. Along with that, we always wanted PT [Coach Donato] to wear his baseball cap with the ‘W’ so we would win,” Schulz said.