By Stephen London
In Baltimore's backyard, there is a new college team the likes of which has never been seen before in Maryland: an NCAA women's ice hockey team. With a roster composed completely of freshmen, Stevenson University coach Shera Vis has a tough road ahead for the Mustangs' inaugural ice hockey season.
"It has its advantages and disadvantages," Vis said about the team's youth. "They are all coming in fresh and have a chance to learn together. ... I think our group meshes extremely well -- a bunch of freshmen coming in and going through the same experiences at the same time, and I think that has definitely brought us closer."
Vis played at the Division I level for Minnesota State, and during 136 games, she tallied 48 points (23 goals, 25 assists). Not only does Vis have experience as a player, but she also was a graduate assistant for the Division III women's hockey program at Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y.
Vis said she thought it was good for Stevenson, a new program trying to find its identity, to have reachable goals.
"I've seen the potential of this group," Vis said, "and I think as the coaching staff, we have set a goal of winning 10 games this season and I think that is something that is doable ... and commendable for a first-year program."
Besides winning games, Vis and the Mustangs have their eyes on a different goal.
"We play three other teams starting new like we are, and for me, I want to beat all of those teams to be on the top of the new programs," Vis said. "I think that is a great goal for the girls to have some pride in that."
At Stevenson University, the student body and the public have responded well to not only the first collegiate women's ice hockey team in state history, but the first NCAA-recognized Maryland college hockey team.
"I don't really feel any added pressure," Vis said. "I think it is more of an excitement thing that we are creating history here. We are definitely helping the girls of the game, and I think that is the most exciting thing."
The Mustangs had their first couple of games at Buffalo State, losing the first, 6-2, but winning the second, 4-1. Freshman goaltender Sarah Modzelewski had a solid second game, letting in only one goal on 29 shots. The Mustangs lost their first home exhibition game on Nov. 3 to Liberty, 4-1.
As a first-year program, Stevenson is playing as an independent, while waiting to hear from conferences.
More Cheap Seats:
• Blast Rearing Pair Of New Keepers
• Former Bees Visit Life-changing Coach
• Mustangs' Freshmen Breaking New Ice
• Eight New Members Enter Lacrosse HOF
• Byron Knows His Way In JFK 50-Mile Race
• Shoes For Grades Targets Better Marks
Issue 179: November 2012