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Girls D1 Prep Preview: Race is on for coveted eight playoff bids

After a sub-.500 season a year ago, Berkshire (10-13-1) is looking to get back above that mark this winter, Good team chemistry will be a key, according to coach Becky McCabe.

Katie Hargrave
Berkshire

Senior and Middlebury College commit Katie Hargrave will be a focal point offensively for the Bears, along with junior Holly Riva. Sophomores Catherine Appleyard and Annie Hauser will have key roles.

A host of freshmen – Caroline Appleyard, Emma Birmingham, Emma Blanchette, Emily Bouvier and Gillian Maher – all look to crack the lineup and make an impact.

Itching for a return to the playoffs, Choate (11-7-2) needs to integrate the new players to the program into the system and have last year’s younger players step up.

Junior Kaitlyn O’Donohoe, a Colgate commit, will be a catalyst up front for coach Nicole Stock. New sophomore Isa Caputo hopes to step right in.

Defensively, senior Lexi Takashima, headed for Hamilton College, will be a rock. Newcomers Delaney Dill (sophomore) and Sabrina Kim (freshman) will battle for time on the blue line.

In goal, Choate returns senior Nicole McGuigan, a Boston University recruit. New freshman Lexington Secreto will be in the mix as well.

Cushing (6-16-2) made some solid improvement last year and everything points to that continuing this season. The Penguins have a great balance of returners and newcomers, and coach Val Bono says the team has clearly defined goals and everyone is all in to accomplish them.

Margaret Sullivan
Cushing

Ally Frechette
Cushing

Erin King
Cushing

Gloria Bilafer
Cushing

Keys at forward for the Penguins are returning senior Ally Frechette and junior Margaret Sullivan. Four forwards new to the program ready to show what they can do are sophomores Abby Bradley and Mady Biondi, and freshmen Julia Cole and Ava Alioto.

Senior Erin King will be a mainstay on defense, and senior Gloria Bilafer is a returner between the pipes.

A strong second half of last season (9-2-1 in their final 12 games)  has fostered excitement at Deerfield (10-7-3). The Big Green will play this season home games this winter at Eaglebrook School and UMass, as the school rink has been demolished to pave way for a new facility for the 18-19 campaign.

Mae Emerson
Deerfield

Dierdre Mullowney
Deerfield

Elizabeth Hernberg
Deerfield

Up front, juniors Mary Edmonds and Mae Emerson are key holdovers for coach Gen Pitt. Three newcomers who will add punch to the lineup are post-grad Elizabeth Hernberg, junior Caroline Skillman and freshman Ellia Chiang.

Junior Dierdre Mullowney, a Boston College commit, is a defensive catalyst for the Big Green, as is senior Ali Dougal, who is headed for Bowdoin.

Jillian Mazzocca
Hotchkiss

Increased offensive production across the board will be a factor this winter for Hotchkiss (6-11-4), which returns a majority of last year’s roster.

Lindsay Reed
Hotchkiss

Seniors Steph O’Brien, Gracyn Campbell, Joo Hyung Kwak and Molly Delaney, juniors Jillian Mazzocca, Caitlin Reilly and Abby Hillebrecht, and sophomores Sandrine Brien and Maggie Ottenbreit give coach John Cooper a lot of varsity experience up front. Post-grad Addy Shannon and new junior Hyla Mosher provide more talent to the group.

On the blue line, juniors Maddie Rego and Zoe Wilson and sophomores Emily Ferguson and Jelani Adorno will hold down the fort.

The Bearcats also have one of prep hockey’s top netminders in senior Lindsay Reed, a returning first team All-NEPSAC D1 selection.

An overtime goal away from a New England Division I championship last season, Kent (20-2-2) returns a solid nucleus from that squad and looks to build on that competitive success.

The Lions do have some talent up front, as evidenced in the return of seniors Tina Paolillo, Jesse DeVito, Ashley McDonald and Lizzie Gross, and juniors Julia Nearis, Kiersten Goode and Cec Ehrhard. New junior Millie Rose Sirum, from the Norwegian National Team, is added to the mix at forward.

Coach Shawn Rousseau also welcomes back seniors Mel Anderson and Delaney Szlezyngier and juniors Sofie Zander and Meara Burns on defense. Senior Tabea Botthof, a German National Team member, brings her talents.

In goal, senior Carly Denora is returning and will battle for time with a pair of new netminders to the club in senior Nina Prunster, from the Austian National Team, and sophomore Catie Boudiette.

Jessica Schryver
Loomis Chaffee

Graduation hit hard at Loomis Chaffee (22-4-1), but the Pelicans have enough returning talent to step up and keep them in the mix.

Spearheading the offensive attack for coach Liz Leyden will be returning juniors Jess Schryver (36 pts) and Georgia Kraus, and sophomore Jenna Donohue. Looking to provide a key role will be new junior Abby Kuhns.

Junior Avery Flynn is back and looking for an increased defensive role. Freshman Taylor Guarino hopes to contribute.

The Pelicans do have a veteran presence in goal with the return of senior Taylor Stadell (1.35 gaa).

Maddie Crowley-Cahill
New Hampton

Madeline Young
New Hampton

Fresh off the school’s first D1 New England championship, New Hampton (30-3-1) is looking to maintain the strong chemistry and positive, never-say-die attitude that kept it all of its games last year. A nice nucleus returns from that title team.

The Huskies have a lethal 1-2 offensive punch with the return of senior Savannah Norcross (55 pts), a Boston College recruit, and junior McKenzie Haberl (45 pts). Junior Kelly Matthews (19 pts) and sophomore Anna Shelden (18 pts) are keys up front as well for coach Craig Churchill. New junior Elizabeth Humphries and freshman Madeline Young join the forward group.

Providence commit Lauren DeBlois (33pts), a junior, will be a defensive mainstay. Senior Caelin Flaherty and sophomore Maddie Crowley-Cahill add to the blue line talent. New junior Brianna Michaud and freshman Courtney Colarullo will give New Hampton solid depth on defense.

The goaltending position is also deep, with junior Olivia Sollows (13 wins, 1.21 gaa) returning, and post-grad Melissa Marcialis and junior MJ Peters new to the program.

With the bulk of last year’s team back in the fold, Northfield Mt. Hermon (15-9-3) is looking to seriously challenge for a playoff berth this year.

Senior Nicole Unsworth (25 goals) ignites the offensive attack for coach Ted Kenyon. The forward group also welcomes back seniors Ellie Fellows (Trinity), Melissa Alexander (Conn. College), Sophie McLaughlin and Zoe Osburn, juniors Ally Watrous and Ally Nolan and sophomore Sage Valente. New sophomore Celia Begonis looks to crack the lineup.

Amanda Aalto
Northfield

Ally Watrous
Northfield

Melissa Alexander
Northfield

Four-year starter Stephanie Voge will be the backbone of the Hoggers defense. Juniors Alisa Canney and Jilly Crane-Mauzy return as well on the back line.

Northfield also has the luxury of two experienced senior goalies in Grace Smith (St. Lawrence commit) and Amanda Aalto (William Smith College).

Elizabeth Holubiak
Phillips Andover

A core of six seniors who are all four-year varsity players will provide the necessary leadership for Phillips Andover (15-9-0) as the Big Blue looks to improve on last season’s record.

Kylie Quinlan
Phillips Andover

Senior Charlotte Welch (36 pts), a Yale commit and first team NEPSAC all star forward, headlines the returning forwards for coach Martha Fenton, a group that also includes seniors Elizabeth Welch (31 pts), a Williams recruit, and Tookie Wilson, juniors Meghan Ward (15 pts) and Emily Batchelor and sophomore Lilly Feeney (31 pts). Two sophomores – Kylie Quinlan and Carly Kreytak – and a bevy of freshmen are new to the program and looking to crack the roster.

On the blue line, seniors Elizabeth Holubiak (Amherst) and Sarah Rigazio, juniors Brooke Keough (10 pts) and Anna Maniaci and sophomores Erin Kelley, Olivia Nolan and Linda Bibeau all return.

In goal, senior Ashley Tucker (Amherst) and senior Alexa Matses are a pair of returning varsity goalies. New sophomore Sophia Merageas will push for time.

Lydia Anderson
Phillips Exeter

Phillips Exeter (11-15-2) had a young club a year and the hope is that experience will translate into some more wins this winter.

Keegan Tierney
Phillips Exeter

Junior Lydia Anderson and sophomore Ally DeCoste will be asked to provide scoring punch up front. New sophomore Jenna Brooks and freshman Alyssa Xu hope to contribute for coach Melissa Pacific

Senior book-ends Johna Vandergraaf and Kaleigh Conte will handle things on the Exeter blue line, helped out by new sophomore Keegan Tierney and freshman Rachel Shu.

Improvement is a goal at Pomfret (1-17-1), where coach Samantha Slotnick is banking on the leadership of the team’s six seniors.

Angelica Mushenko and Savannah Booth are two of those seniors and will be asked to provide the necessary scoring. along with senior Taylor Ettore, who could also see time on defense. New senior Kyra Dal Bello will add depth to the forward lines.

Sophomore Grace Arsenault is a key returning defenseman for the Griffins. Freshman Hannah Twombly will look for some quality minutes on the blue line.

Pomfret does return two goaltenders in senior Emme Ostrander (.931 save %) and sophomore Rieley Jessie-Gerelli.

There are high expectations at St. Paul’s (21-5-1), where the Pelicans have qualified for the post-season five consecutive seasons.

Offensively, senior Gillis Frechette (46 pts) was a D1 first team NEPSAC foward last winter. Joining her up front are seniors Bella Kang (16 pts), Brianna Hill, Olivia Lin and Willa King.

Seniors back on defense are Olivia Hale and Charlotte Clark, Last year’s back-up, senior Jess Arbuckle, is a returning goalie for the Pelicans.

Expect coach Heather Farrell to also have a solid group of newcomers in to the program. St. Paul’s also had a handful of younger players excel in varsity roles last winter.

McKinley Karpa
Taft

Strong on defense and in goal, if Taft (6-11-6) can find a way to produce more scoring punch, then the Rhinos will be a tough team to beat.

Claudia Vira
Taft

Returning seniors Natalie Witkowski (12 pts) and Lexi Cafeiro (12 pts, Colby recruit) will be asked to provide some of that offense. A pair of post-grads – McKinley Karpa, who has committed to RIT, and Mya Berretta, a Hamilton commit, will be a big plus up front.

On the blue line, the senior trio of Vivian Lu (Brown commit), Sarah Ince (Middlebury) and Claudia Vira form a solid nucleus for coach Gretchen Silverman.

Senior Sidney Molnar (.937 save %), headed for Hamilton, is back to handle the Taft goaltending.

Senior leadership will also be a factor for Westminster (9-11-3) as the Martlets look to get back into the upper echelon of Division 1.

Lilly Holmes
Westminster

Vermont-bound senior Lily Holmes will be an offensive catalyst for coach David Pope. Senior Rosy Seiglaff and junior Jill Parsons are two more key returners up front.

Defensively, senior Emma Lange, a Holy Cross commit, senior Ashlee White (Trinity) and junior Hannah Carbone give the Martlets a veteran presence in front of senior goalie Hannah Stone.

Four freshmen – Casey Winslow, Betsy Winslow, Emma Gurnell and Amanda Busky – join the program and look to battle for varsity time.

Williston (18-6-2) returns an impressive group that should help carry the club into playoff contention.

Gabby DiComitis
Williston

Seniors Gabby Jones (Merrimack commit) and Marielle McHale, and juniors Kate Holmes (Northeastern commit), Caroline DiFiore (Boston College commit) and Maura Holden are certainly capable of putting up some big numbers offensively.

On the blue line, senior Julia MacLean (Boston College commit) and senior Tori Palumbo (UNH commit) form quite a defensive tandem for coach Christa Talbot Syfu. The Wildcats also return three goalies in senior Danielle Marquez (Bowdoin commit), senior Gabby Dicomitis and junior Tayah Sommer.

A solid influx of newcomers will only add talent to the already impressive squad.

With a large group of newcomers, establishing team chemistry will be vital for Winchendon (8-18-1), especially in the early going.

Kiley Mastel
Winchendon

Julia Holmes
Winchendon

Julia Kibrick
Winchendon

Keri Clougherty
Winchendon

Junior Kiley Robles and sophomores Makenzie Shandley and Emma Landry return at forward for coach Laura DiCarlo. Newcomers ready to step in and contribute are juniors Julia Kibrick and Katie Puumala, sophomores Alexandra Johnson and Zuzana Cerna, and freshman Kiley Mastel.

Sophomore Julia Holmes will be a steady defenseman for the Wapiti. Senior Ashley Greene also returns on the defensive side. Joining the crew are junior Stefanie Caban, sophomore Isabelle Frenette and freshman Keri Clougherty.

Junior Cesira Barrett is a returning goaltender. Freshman Hope Walinski will press for time.

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 25 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.
Gary Demopoulos
- 28 mins ago