On March 7, the Gustavus Women’s Hockey team squared off against Augsburg with the MIAC Playoff title on the line.
Heading into postseason, the Gusties were ranked fourth nationally and secured the No. 1 seed for playoffs after earning the program’s 16th regular season title.
With this No. 1 seed comes the advantage of playing at home for the remainder of the tournament.
After a first-round bye, the Black and Gold faced off against St. Mary’s in the semifinals of the postseason playoffs.
First-year Hailey Holland led the offense, notching her second hat trick of the season and Sophomore Kayla Vrieze added one more to secure a 4-1 Gustie victory.
First-year Katie McCoy made 12 saves in net.
Heading into the championship match against Augsburg, the team and Head Coach Mike Carroll were fired up about the opportunity in front of them.
“We are confident and ready for the challenge because they are going to give us everything they got. Hopefully we’ll make a good response,” Carroll said.
The Don Roberts Ice Rink was packed last Saturday to see the top two teams go head-to-head.
Augsburg was another force in the MIAC this season and are ranked No. 10 nationally. The Auggies were on an 11 game winning streak heading into the game, with their last defeat credited to Gustavus on a narrow 1-0 win Nov. 23.
After a back-and-forth scoreless first period of play, First-year Clara Billings found herself open to score a powerplay goal in the second. This proved to be the deciding goal, as McCoy had yet another dominant performance in net, stopping all 11 of Augsburg’s attempts.
Holland increased the score to 3-0 off of two open net goals late in the third. Holland currently leads the team in goals this season with 19.
“Today was the most important game of the season and now we’re going to catch our breath, have a couple good practices, and play whenever they tell us,” Carroll said.
As the season comes to a close, the conference recognizes notable athletes and coaches for their efforts, and Gustavus’ awards came rolling in.
Carroll added to his impressive resume with a 2019-2020 MIAC Coach of the Year title. Carroll is the second winningest coach in Division III Women’s Hockey history and boasts an overall coaching record of 436-114-46.
On top of this award, four Gustie players made their way onto the All-Conference team.
Senior Kristen Cash was awarded her second All-Conference nod for her lock-down defense and was ranked first in the MIAC in goals against.
Sophomore Kristina Press also earned the award and was a spark for the Gusties all season, leading the team with 31 points on 11 goals and 20 assists.
A pair of First-years rounded out the All-Conference awards and were also named to the All-Rookie Team alongside McCoy.
Holland made her presence known in her first year of MIAC competition, leading the team with 19 goals on top of nine assists.
First-year Molly McHugh was the final All-Conference award recipient and was second in points this season for the Black and Gold with 16 goals and 14 assists.
The win against Augsburg marked the 12th MIAC Playoff title for the Gusties and with it comes an automatic bid into the NCAA DIII National Tournament.