Lady Ducks standout Yovetich decides on Northeastern
Lily Yovetich, a defenseman on the Anaheim Lady Ducks’ 16U AAA team, recently committed to attend and play her NCAA Division I hockey at Northeastern University following her youth and junior careers.
This past season, Yovetich helped lead Anaheim to the Pacific District championship in its division while punching its ticket to the USA Hockey National Championships.
“I’m very excited to play at Northeastern,” said Yovetich, who grew up playing for both the Lady Ducks and Los Angeles Jr. Kings. “It’s a tremendous hockey school with a great tradition, and it’s cool they play in one of the oldest rinks in North America (Matthews Arena).”
“Lily is a powerful player and brings a dynamic game to the ice day in and day out,” said Lady Ducks director Kathy McGarrigle. “That mentality is one of the things that makes her special and prepared her for the level of competition she’ll see in an few years playing Division I.”
A sophomore in high school, Yovetich plans to graduate in 2019, and then play a year of junior in Canada’s Provincial Women’s Hockey League before beginning her college career in Hockey East in the fall of 2020.
“I loved the (Northeastern) coaches (head coach Dave Flint and assistants Nick Carpenito and Jeff Pellegrini), too, and was blown away by the campus in downtown Boston,” she said. “It’s a great hockey city to say the least.”
Recognized for her skills and smarts, Carpenito and Pellegrini first scouted Yovetich at a tournament in Toronto after her final Pee Wee season with the Jr. Kings where they were also impressed with her physical prowess.
“The last few years competing and getting the type of exposure our program offers has been vital in her recruitment to some very strong Division I schools,” said McGarrigle. “Lily had a sweet spot for Northeastern way back as a 13-year-old, but it took several trips, along with scouts and coaches watching her play, to make that a reality.
“Her level of consistency and the support she got – particularly from (the Lady Ducks’ primary NCAA/prep school liaison) Caroline Marchant – helped make her NCAA opportunity come to fruition.”
“It’s been a great experience playing for the Lady Ducks and I’m so thankful for the opportunity,” said Yovetich. “The level of competition and exposure they provide is off the charts, and the support we get from Kathy and Caroline, both on and off the ice, is second to none.”
Yovetich is also quick to credit many of her Jr. Kings coaches for her development – both as a player and person – on her way to earning the opportunity to compete at the highest level of women’s college hockey.
Among them Robbert McDonald, who mentored Yovetich during her Pee Wee AA season in 2012-13 in preparation for her Pee Wee AAA and Bantam Minor AAA seasons under the direction of coaches Shawn Pitcher, Rob Blake and Nelson Emerson.
In addition, she gained invaluable experience under the tutelage of Lady Ducks coaches Jennifer Friedman, Laura Veharanta and Todd Marchant.
“I’m so thankful for all my teammates and coaches with the Jr. Kings and Lady Ducks,” said Yovetich. “I’m super fortunate to have been taught by such amazing people.”
Yovetich – the second girl from the Jr. Kings program to earn a NCAA Division I opportunity (the Lady Ducks have moved dozens on to D-I); she joins Boston College recruit Cayla Barnes (this year a senior defenseman at New Hampshire’s New Hampton School and also a former Lady Duck) – is also excited to witness the continued success of the burgeoning LA Lions girls program; the Los Angeles Kings-backed club just completed its second season to rave reviews.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “With the help of the Kings, along with such a dedicated group of coaches and support staff, it won’t be too long until one or more of those girls get the chance to play college hockey, too.”
Top photo/Scott Eckstein
– Brian McDonough