By Janet Schultz
File Photos by Janet Schultz Photography©
2021-21 College Preview
RIT Looking To The Future
Coming off a Covid Hockey Season and faced with 13 newcomers, Rochester Institute of Technology Bruce E Bates Women’s Ice Hockey Coach Celeste Brown has many challenges facing her and the squad.
But, as always, she is optimistic. She looks at it as a puzzle and she and her staff are putting the pieces to gether.
“We have the edge, now we have to work on the inside,” she commented during a recent Media Day at RIT.
Brown was named head coach of the team last season. Not exactly the season to have to take the reigns, but she did and made the best of it. Early on RIT canceled its winter sports programs but then reconsidered after the CHA put together a Return to Play plan for New York State. The Tigers opened their season vs Syracuse on November 27 and ended with a 1-15 record. There was never a full team or full staffing for their games, making it a very tough season.
“The pandemic took its toll on the whole country,” said Brown. “But it also gave us an opportunity and told us a lot about our program and our team.
“It was a measure of where we are and now we can establish a plan.”
First she has named three new additions to the staff with Josh Graser as an assistant coach; Shane Madolora as a volunteer goaltending coach and Matthew Wentz as director of hockey operations.
Graser was as assistant coach at DIII Utica and prior to that was the director of hockey operations at Colgate. Madolora was a record-setting goaltender for RIT and Wentz served as an athletic trainer at RIT.
Returning for her second year as an assistant coach is Jordin Paroski who spent two years at Brown University as an assistant coach and prior to that was an assistant coach at Elmira, leading them to a championship.
After facing Mercyhurst, Penn State and Syracuse last season, Brown saw what tough competitors they were and also saw the type of play the Tigers will need to be competitive.
With 13 newcomers, it will be a challenge to make the team gel but she explained that they will be spending a lot of time together and remarked that the returning players have already spent quality time together during the summer at special events.
“You have success when you can rely on that person next to you,” she continued. “We are working on that. The x’s and o’s of hockey will come. But there is a learning curve.”
“We must focus on our controllables,” she said. “If we execute those well we will be building brick by brick.”
“Preparation builds confidence,” said Brown.
Brown has Jordan Marchese returning for another season, thanks to NCAA ruling that players can add the fifth season due to Covid.
“She is the heart and soul of the team,” said Brown. “She is a Tiger player. Her day-to-day work and how she treats her teammates is impactful.”
“It was a tough year with Covid,” said Marchese. “RIT hockey means everything to me and getting another year makes me proud and happy,”
“Coach Brown is the best coach I have ever had because she cares about each of us.”
With that said, Marchese is looking at a winning season and sees the new freshmen class as not a challenge. She feels each one is a great player and she is happy they are here.
“I believe they can take this team to the next level.”
Abby Davies is the senior who the team will be looking at as a role model. She was in and out last season due to Covid protocol but has established herself in the league and is excited to be back. According to Brown she has been flying in practice and they expect that to translate to the game and pushing her teammates to excel.
The road has been rough here in the beginning of the season with losses to Mercyhurst and two to Colgate.
The Tigers have a long home stand as they take on Union October 1 and 2; UConn on October 8 and 9; Cornell on October 16 and St. Lawrence on October 21 before heading to St. Lawrence on Oct. 23.
Tickets for RIT Women’s Ice Hockey games are free to faculty, staff, students and alumni. The general public can purchase tickets through the box office or go to rittickets.com
Looking at the RIT roster, Williamsville native Emma Roland will be playing her second season with the Tigers. Roland had a goal in the first game of the season against Mercyhurst. Roland registered a team-high 5 shots on goal in that 3-6 loss.
In other RIT news. Bruce B Bates, who endowed the women’s ice hockey coaching position in 2015 passed away in May. He served RIT as a Trustee.
Editors Note: Since we didn’t make many games the last two year, photos are file copies by Janet Schultz Photography©