Plattsburgh State has once again proven that they are the best team in NCAA Division III women’s hockey.
After their 5-1 victory last Saturday night against the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, the Cards rightfully celebrated, as this was their third consecutive capturing of the national title.
Entering the highly anticipated match, head coach Kevin Houle made it a point that he was focused on keeping both his team as well as himself calm before the commencement of the game.
“Once the puck drops, it is just another game,” Houle said. “You can’t get too high or too low. You have to stay on an even keel.”
This mentality proved to be helpful to PSUC in the first period of the game when UW-River Falls scored the opening goal. However, the Cards maintained their composure just as Houle had forewarned. The team was able to regroup and answered in a big way with a goal off the stick of junior forward Jordan Lipson.
“It was a really exciting moment, and I think it set the tone for the rest of the game,” Lipson said. “(Melissa) Sheeran couldn’t have made a better pass.”
In terms of the preparation that took place for this high stakes game, the coaching staff and players have a unique take on handling this particular situation. For them, playing in this game was easier and slightly less nerve-wracking than playing in the semifinal matchup. The reason being that, this was a time where the team could put everything they had out on the line. There was truly no holding back, and this was the final endeavor that the team would be tested with. They just had to go out and get after it.
Due to the fact that the Cards had found themselves in this championship twice before, they were able to keep their composure more easily as a result of their xperience. It was important for the team to manage their emotions in the high pressure situation that they found themselves in.
“We had been there before,” assistant coach Danielle Blanchard said. “In a way, we knew what to expect, but we had to be ready for anything.”
Looking forward, the Cards don’t have much on the agenda. After a season that is both taxing on the body and the mind, the team is looking forward to just enjoying the position that they are in, which is on top.
For the four seniors that have played their last game for the dynasty that the women’s team has become, they are left with the common feeling of being the national champions. This is something that not only these seniors have become accustomed to, but the program as a whole has developed a common goal of being the best and this commitment and effort will transcend through the ranks of the team.
“We’re losing a lot of good leadership in our seniors from this year,” Houle said. “But we still have a great core of players that will be returning, and we’re ready to handle things the same way as we have been the past couple of years.”
Email Kevin Morley at firstname.lastname@example.org