The Gustavus women’s hockey team is excited about the prospects of the 2009-10 season as 14 letterwinners, including First Team American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-America selections Melissa Mackley and Kirstin Peterson, return from a team that posted a record of 22-2-4 overall and 16-0-2 in the MIAC and claimed its fifth straight conference title. The team, which looks quite young on paper with 17 freshmen and sophomores and five juniors and seniors, has a good mix of youth and experience and the 14 returners played key roles as the Gusties claimed conference and post-season tournament honors a year ago.
Senior captain Melissa Mackley, who established herself as one of the top players in Division III a year ago, will lead this team on the ice and in the locker room. An excellent skater and stick-handler, Mackley was the team’s leading scorer with 8 goals and 19 assists for 27 points last season. Joining Mackley up front will be sophomores Allie Schwab (14g, 7a), Mollie Carroll (6g, 9a), and Alyssa Gaulrapp (6g, 6a). Schwab, who was a MIACAll-First Year Team selection, finished ninth in the league in scoring with 9 goals and 7 assists for 16 points.
Defensively, the Gusties return almost every player from a unit that led all of Division III in goals against average at 0.76 goals per game. Junior All-American Kirstin Peterson will anchor the blue line along with All-Conference honoree Sara Yungner, senior Alyssa Saunders, junior Kelsey Johnson, and sophomores Nara Higano, and Gina DeNucci. In the nets, Coach Mike Carroll has the luxury of having two standout goaltenders in Danielle Justice and Emily Klatt. Klatt ranked first (0.69) and Justice second (0.79) in Division III last year in goals against average. Klatt finished the year with a perfect 12-0-0 mark, while Justice posted a mark of 10-2-4. Justice was named to the MIAC All-First Year Team.
Coach Mike Carroll is also excited about the addition of eight newcomers. That group includes forward Meagan Wanecke, forward Jenna Christensen, forward Tam Meuwissen, forward Sara Kate Pierro, forward Julie Hammond, defenseman Kelsey Kennedy, forward Lindsey Hjelm, and forward Kayla Ingbretson.
Coach Carroll feels good about the chemistry of this group and expects that it will mature into one of the top teams in the country with the goal of challenging for both conference and national titles.