BY RANDY SCHULTZ –
It may have taken four seasons, but RIT senior forward, Emma Roland, received her first College Hockey America (CHA) weekly honor when she recently was named CHA Forward of the Week. It was an honor well deserved.
In their recent two-game series at Robert Morris University, Roland tallied a CHA-leading six points, with two goals and four assists in the Tigers’ split with the Colonials. That included the first game which saw the Williamsville native score five points on two power play goals and three assists.
Add to that two blocked shots and eight shots on goal. Not a bad weekend.
Roland has come a long way since her freshman season which saw her score just s single point (an assist) in 12 games for RIT. Now a senior and in, what could be, her final season with the Tigers, Roland has seen just how quickly time can fly.
“It is really hard to believe that I’m in my senior year,” remarked Roland, the daughter of James and Traci Roland. “It’s been such an awesome experience.
“I’ve always say how happy I am that I chose to come to RIT. I’ve made a lot of friendships here and I think I’ve really grown as a person at RIT.
“It’s been a really fun four years.”
But these four years came after and exciting two years as a high scoring forward for the Williamsville girl’s High School varsity hockey team. Roland helped lead her team to back-to-back Section VI Girls Varsity High School Hockey Championships in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
On top of that the Williamsville girls varsity hockey team won the New York State Girls Varsity Championship for the 2018-19 season, but lost in the championship game the following campaign.
Individually, Roland had two outstanding seasons scoring 36 goals, 26 assists for 62 points in 24 games in 2018-19. She followed that with 31 goals, 14 assists for 45 points in 21 games in 2019-20.
With her high school success behind her, how difficult was it for Roland to make the jump to DI Women’s College Hockey?
“There was definitely an adjustment,” responded Roland, who has one sibling, a twin sister, Erin. “It is much quicker than high school hockey.”
In her sophomore year at RIT, Roland played in 33 game and led the Tigers in scoring with nine goals, nine assists for 18 points. Last season the 21 year-old Roland saw action in 29 game, but scored only five goal and an assist for six points.
Unfortunately, the RIT Women’s hockey team has struggled in all three of Roland’s seasons with the Tigers, winning just a single game each season for a total of three wins over the past three campaigns.
But this season seems to be different with the Tigers, who currently have a record of 7-6-2.
“We’ve been rebuilding the past three years, but our desire to win has never changed,” commented Roland. “We now have some experience under our belts, growing with those players I came in with as a freshman.
“We now have an older, experienced, veteran team that is winning some games. We seem to be coming together this year.”
Roland also admits that she has some great and wonderful memories of her high school hockey career.
“I think one of my fondest memory was playing for the State championship in Lake Placid,” remembered Roland, a graduate of Williamsville North High School. “That is a place that has a lot of hockey history.”
She also remembered her Williamsville hockey coach, Rick Hopkins.
“He played a huge role in my hockey career,” remarked Roland. “I still keep in touch with him.
“He’s awesome. I’m always excited for the Williamsville girls hockey team and I hope they have a good year again this year.”
One honor that Roland is proud of is being named to the CHA All-Academic Team for the past two seasons. Playing hockey and majoring in the Physician Assistant program would appear to be a difficult combination.
“That’s been the biggest challenge for me so far,” commented Roland. “My teammate, Lindsay Maloney, are both in the same Physician Assistant program which is a very tough program.
“Having each other has been very helpful. Our professors have been great.”
Roland has the upcoming spring semester to complete her studies which will be followed by next summer and the next academic year being spent in a hospital.
And, believe it or not, Roland could still play another year of hockey if she wanted thanks to her COVID year. Would she try and balance a hospital schedule with hockey?
“We’re trying to work through that right now,” answered Roland. “I don’t want this to be my last season of hockey, but if a next season is possible is to be decided.”
Roland concluded with some advice to those hockey players now playing for the Williamsville High School girl’s team.
“Time flies,” she said. “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself because hockey is supposed to be fun.
“If you play that way you will have some great memories like I do.”
(Photos by Janet Schultz Photography/NY Hockey OnLine)