Girls Prep Hockey – East Independents Preview: Cushing, Andover Eye Elite Status; Big Senior Group Propels Worcester

Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos
Gary Demopoulos has been covering prep school hockey for the HNIB News for over 30 years, and has been the editor of the HNIB News since 2005. A former sportswriter and news editor at the Woburn (MA) Daily Times Chronicle, he has been the HNIB News' key reporter for Mens Prep School hockey since 1988, as well as womens hockey, both at the prep school and high school levels. for almost 20 years. Gary also helps organize and oversee HNIB's many summer tournaments and festivals for scholastic players.

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AUSTIN PREP (new prep program)

Coach: Stephanie Wood

After running the table to a perfect 27-0-0 to win the Mass. Girls HS D1 state title, the Cougars have moved their program to NEPSAC, and will compete as an Independent this winter. “The transition to NEPSAC will be a really great oppotunity for the program,” said coach Wood. “We are looking forward to now evolving to the same success we have had in the MIAA to prep school. This year will be a great mixture of opponents in year one as we launch into the league.”

Key forwards for Austin Prep, as they were in last year’s title run, will be senior McKenzie Cerrato and junior Maddie Vittands.

On defense, expect a lot of ice time for senior Caroline Melanson and sophomores Bree Andeson and Riley Loveland. Gianna McCusker will be in the running for the starting goaltender’s position.

CUSHING (17-6-4)

Coach: Val Bono-Bunker

The 2020 Small School champions nabbed their first Elite 8 post-season berth a year ago, and have the goods to make a repeat run this year. “We will be prepared every day to give our best effort and learn from our mistakes and build on our successes,” said coach Bono-Bunker.

In senior, and Boston College commit Sammy Taber (49 pts), the Penguins have one of prep school’s premier forwards. She was recently named to the U18 World Hockey Championships roster. Senior Caroline Lilley (Assumption commit), junior Courtney Lilley and sophomore Brooke Harb are other key offensive returners. New freshman Maddy Soderquist (Woburn HS) will step right in.

A rocks-solid defense will feature senior Rylie Jones (Northeastern commit), senior Lilly Corso (Assumption commit) and senior Jamie Ryan (UNE commit). New sophomores Taylor Buckley (Woburn HS) and Lilly Tewksbury (Barre, VT) add to the quality depth on the blue line.

Two new netminders – junior Lily Prendergast (Notre Dame Acad.) and freshman Sadie Bellissimo (Littleton, CO) – will join returning senior Daphne Kalogerpoulos in a deep, goaltending trio.


Coach: Maggie Taverna

A solid 21-22 campaign resulted in a berth in the Small School Tournament, where DXSF fell in OT to eventually New England champ Rivers. The pieces are there for another solid run.

Seniors Amelia Lynch (Sacred Heart commit), Kate Flynn and Marion Legge will lead the offensive attack.

Two sophomores with key roles on defense are Alaina Dunn and Maddie Murphy. In goal, veteran senior Ainsley Moulton has committed to Merrimack College.

Ali McArdle
Kents Hill

KENTS HILL (6-10-1)

Coach: Jasmine Webber

The Huskies welcome a new coach in Webber, who looks forward to the challenge of what will be a competitive schedule.

A key returning forward is senior Clara Landry. Looking to help the offensive cause are new senior Julia Small (Methuen, MA), juniors Lily Wilson (Quispamsis, NB) and Amelia Quesnel (Middlebury, VT), sophomore Kaylyn Bourque (Benton, ME) and freshmen Hailey Clark (Meridien, NH), Rowan Wood (Morrisonville, NY), and Krystal Braithwood (Fayette, ME).

Abi Graham
Kents Hill

Senior Austin Crowley, junior Abi Graham and sophomore Avery Ross are back on defense.

There should be plenty of competition between the pipes with senior Ali McArdle, junior Sarah Maude and sophomore Lola May Mutch in the mix.

Lyla Casey


Coach: Matt Poulin

Seven seniors graduated, but a big group of 15 newcomers has the Panthers optimistic. Offense will be a strength. Youth will be served on the blue line.

Toree St. Hilaire

Back for another season up front for coach Poulin, in his second year, are senior Michala Wallace, junior Kailyn McIntyre and sophomore Lyla Casey. A boatload of new forwards add some nice depth in senior Leah Dube (Lewiston HS), juniors Sarah Moore (Mt. Ararat/Lisbon) and Lily Rawsley (Greely HS), sophomores Caitlin Lee (Cape Elizabeth HS) and Toree St. Hilaire (Lewiston HS), freshman Camryn Casserly (St. Dom’s) and eighth-graders Charlotte Matusovich (Casco Bay), Tatum Sloper (Casco Bay), Natasha Godfrey (Casco Bay) and Kenlie Nadeau (Casco Bay).

Brooklyn Goodman NYA

Sophomores Sadie Swenson and Madison Moody will meld with newcomers sophomore Sadie Morgan (Lewiston HS), freshmen Isabelle Hinkley (St. Dom’s) and Jordan Nash (Saco, ME) and eighth-grader Caroline Matusovich (Casco Bay).

Junior Elizabeth Madden (Hebron transfer) joins returning sophomore Brooklyn Goodman in the goaltending department.


Coach: Martha Fenton

Gretchen Swartz Phillips Andover

The Big Blue were an overtime goal away from reaching the New England Elite 8 final a year ago. A lot of talent has moved on, and the team will be on the younger side this winter.

Four seniors – Claire Colvin (Williams commit), Lulu Rourke (Holy Cross commit), Keira Harder (Williams commit) and Gretchen Swartz – headline the returning forwards, which also boasts junior Shea Freda and sophomores Peyton Kennedy, Emily Mara and Ellie Parker. Welcomed in this winter up front are post-grad Julia Simon (Nobles/Yale commit), and Caroline Averill, Keira Bruen, Lilly McInerney and Sarah Powers, all freshmen.

Keira Bruen
Phillips Andover

On defense, senior Anne Averill (Dartmouth commit) and Olivia McManus (Middlebury commit) are cornerstones. Senior Deanna Buenzowa and sophomores Molly Boyle, Charley Drouin and Margot Furman are all back with the program. Freshman Sarah Lackley (Woodstock, VT) looks to crack the lineup.

Sophomore Annabel Curry is a returning varsity netminder. New sophomores Avery Rodenheffer and Wendi Ying will press for time.


Coach: Sally Komarek

Shauna Vadeboncour
Phillips Exeter

Armed with a deep and strong roster, the Big Red will be tough to play against. “I’m hungry to get going, and really looking forward to seeing this group compete together,” said coach Komarek.

Allie Bell
Phillips Exeter

Up front, senior Shauna Vadeboncour (Brown commit) and senior Eden Welch (UPenn lacrosse commit) will guide an offense that also returns seniors Tammy Zhu, Anjali Frary and Jocelyn Orr, junior Jessica Chen and sophomores Soleil Jamani and Elie Perry. Some young forwards looking to chip in right away are junior Adora Perry and freshmen Ella Benson, Maria Gray, Emma Shu and Lauren Xu.

Seniors Jenny Drevitch and Lucy Meyer-Braun, juniors Caroline Shu and Catherine Fuller, and sophomore Grace Benson are back on the blue line. Freshman Lainie Fortney will bring her talents.

Tasked with the job of keeping the puck out of the Exeter net will be senior Sami Smith, and sophomore Allie Bell.


Coach: Jeff Pellegrini

Big things are happening at Winchendon, where the school is fielding two varsity teams this winter. One is Varsity White. The other, Varsity Green.

Check back for more information on the Wapiti program. There was no information available as of post time.


Coach: Kevin Zifcak

Bolstered with a talented senior group, there is plenty to get the Hilltoppers back over the .500 mark this season.

A veteran group of forwards that will power coach Zifcak’s offense include the likes of sophomore Hazel Hughes, Elise Siciliano, Cara Mancini, Erika Parenti, Jessica Pistorino, Gina Richard and Frederikke Foss. A key addition is post-grad Colleen Quirk (Natick HS).

Junior Bailee St. Hilaire will be a defensive anchor, while another senior, Emmy Lacourse, is back in goal.

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