Pembroke’s Davis continues to lead way
It is fitting that Pembroke High grad Alex Davis, a junior on the women’s ice hockey team at Sacred Heart University, is playing for a school whose nickname is the Pioneers.
Davis, one of seven area women skating for the Division 1 program in Fairfield, Conn., was a freshman on the inaugural Whitman-Hanson/Pembroke High girls’ team that took the ice after a $24,000 fund-raising effort coordinated by the players’ families.
“We did everything from car washes to raffles to a yard sale in Pembroke Center to get it started, and when I was a sophomore we made it to the state title game, which was a great accomplishment,’’ recalled Davis, who was converted from defense to forward by Sacred Heart head coach Tom O’Malley , a Boston College grad.
“I think playing on our first team as a freshman helped make me a leader.”
Like her college team, which has played a Division 1 independent schedule since 2003, Davis has steadily improved.
As a freshman, she scored four goals for a Pioneer squad that won 11 games. Last season, she totaled 11 goals and 11 assists to help O’Malley’s squad post a program-record 18 victories and earn a berth in the ECAC open tournament.
“Alex has one of the hardest shots on the team and she plays hard,’’ said O’Malley, who previously coached the women’s club team at Boston College.
“She’s one of our go-to players who has worked her way up to second line center.’’
Her father, Art, played in the Quincy youth hockey program and coached his daughter for three years with the Pembroke town team. She has also played in the Bay State Breakers program out of Rockland and Hingham since her freshman year of high school.
She perfected her shot in the driveway at home along with her twin siblings, Brad and Samantha, juniors who play for the boys’ and girls’ teams, respectively, at Xaverian Brothers High and at Tabor Academy.
Samantha, a winger, also plays for the Breakers and was invited to train this fall with USA Hockey’s Player Development program in Lake Placid.
“I felt I could play Division 1 hockey, but perhaps not at the level of a Hockey East school, and Sacred Heart and coach O’Malley were the perfect fit,’’ said Davis, who also played soccer and lacrosse in high school and was a girls’ hockey captain, team MVP, and league All-Star. She also captained the lacrosse squad.
“Transitioning to forward in college was probably the hardest thing I ever had to do. I had a rough time of it my freshman year. I had to be quicker and faster and be stronger on the puck,’’ said Davis, who worked on those skills the past two summers with the Breakers.
“It’s good to see the hard work pay off for all of us because my teammates are my extended family. I’m passionate about hockey and my adrenaline really kicks in when I’m on the ice,’’ added Davis, whose roommates, junior forward Alanna Woodford (Scituate High) and Briana Connolly (Duxbury High) have been club hockey teammates since they were all 10 years old.
They are joined on the roster by forward Cassandra Briffett (Marshfield High) and a trio of freshmen: forward Emily Falvey (Hingham High), forward/defenseman Elizabeth Johnson (Milton High), and defenseman Amie Varano of Duxbury (Notre Dame Academy).
Among those who take a regular shift, O’Malley said Connolly is a gritty player who goes to the net and plays a heads-up game; Falvey, who scored a breakaway goal in a win over the University of Rhode Island, has a bright future; Varano has played in every game and is developing a “great’’ shot; and Woodford has been strong on both ends of the ice.
“I like to recruit from the South Shore; I have a few connections from my BC days,’’ said O’Malley, who noted that his good friend and BC hockey alum Neil Shea told him about Woodford.
Tennis players shine
The women’s tennis team at Regis College in Weston went 11-2 in a run to its second consecutive New England Collegiate Conference title.
Jewel Medeiros , a sophomore from Old Rochester Regional, and a co-captain with junior Kendall Kolb (Plymouth North), went 6-0 in conference play at No. 3 singles and 8-1 overall at the position. She was a first team all-conference pick at singles and doubles. Along with partner Jessie Lord, she was 10-3 at second doubles (8-0 conference).
“Jewel is very steady and brings mental toughness to the court. She does a great job moving her shots around,’’ said coach John Ciarleglio.
“Kendall is a two-year captain who excels at doubles — especially with her volleying and return of serve — and has been a steadying influence for her freshman (doubles) partners.’’
Here and there
Vicky DiNatale (Weymouth High) a senior defender and captain at Springfield College, was named the NEWMAC Women’s Soccer Player of the Week after anchoring a back line that posted shutouts over Clark and Emerson. Springfield was 9-4-1 overall (5-1-1 conference) prior to Saturday’s match at WPI. The Pride’s lineup also includes sophomore midfielders Brooke Hattinger (Weymouth High) and Krissy Cicalis (Bridgewater-Raynham). Hattinger had started all 14 games and had one goal while Cicalis had appeared in 14 games, five as a starter. . .
Westfield State University’s Jenn Asci (Rockland High) was honored as the Massachusetts State Collegiate Conference Rookie of the week for women’s cross country after placing eighth out of 190 runners to help the Owls finish second at the Western New England Invitational.
Marvin Pave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.