Feb. 21, 2014
By Marya Fratoni
STORRS, Conn.. -- The UConn women’s hockey team is set for a series against Maine on Friday, Feb. 21 at 2 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. Not only are these games essential to win in order for the Huskies to lock in fifth place in Hockey East, but the Huskies will also honor their four seniors before Saturday’s match-up.
All four seniors have contributed immensely to the program’s success and have enjoyed a season that has seen UConn eclipse its win total of each of the last two season. First-year head coach Chris MacKenzie is thrilled to have had the opportunity to coach such a great class of girls.
“A lot of coaches will tell you that you’re only as good as your senior class, and we’ve made improvements this year based on last year and they’re a big part of that,” MacKenzie said.
London, Ontario native Stephanie Raithby and Fairbanks, Alaskannative Kiana Nauheim have both been at UConn for their four years of eligibility. Both skaters would agree that being a college athlete has taught them valuable life skills.
“The biggest life lesson I have learned from being a college athlete is time management and how to be a team player,” said Raithby.
Nauheim has learned the same ability to manage her time in her four years of involvement in college athletics, but admits it was not always a walk in the park: “It was difficult at first finding an appropriate balance between academics, athletics and social life,” she said.
Known for her sense of humor, Husky Captain Erin Burns (Listowel, Ontario) transferred to UConn from Niagara University prior to the 2012-13 season, She battled injury early in her senior season, but was able to push past the pain and be a valuable player for the Huskies this season. Burns scored her first goal at UConn earlier this year and has emerged as one of Connecticut’s top shut-down defensemen.
Also joining UConn for the 2012-13 season from Niagara, goalkeeper Sarah Moses
(New Hamburg, Ontario) has provided the team with a positive influence from the cage all season. Moses has seen time in 12 games this year, and earned Women’s Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week honors back on Oct. 26, 2013. When asked to describe their team, both Burns and Moses had similar things to say.
“We have such a hard working team this year that really can grind our way through anything,” said Moses. “We may not necessarily have the best skill level in our league but every time we’re on the ice whether it’s practice or a game, we don’t quit until the end and that’s what this team is all about.”
Additionally, Burns believes that her team is valuable for their resiliency. “We have had our work cut out for us in a lot of ways this season and I think we embraced every challenge,” the captain said.
These four seniors as a group have led their team to work together like they never have before. They will be sorely missed both on and off the ice but are wished the best of luck in their post-graduate endeavors. All four will graduate this May, with degrees ranging from animal sciences (Nauheim) to agricultural resource economics (Burns) to sociology (Moses) to biological sciences (Raithby).