Senior moment: Lady Ducks exceed 100 playing in college
It’s not as if the Anaheim Lady Ducks haven’t achieved numerous milestones, but this one spoke to the growth and endurance of the program.
The nine girls to date who made NCAA Division I and III college commitments this season meant the program has helped more than 100 young women move on to college hockey since the program was founded in 1999.
“Of course, I’m super proud,” said Kathy McGarrigle, the Lady Ducks director and coach of multiple teams. “There isn’t any one defining thing that made this a reality. Our biggest priority is teaching kids to play the right way. My pride is in our coaching staff and our college liaison, Caroline Marchant. We’ve been able to take girls from in-house or learn-to-skate programs and six years later, they get offers to a university.
“That’s put the final nail in what’s made our program a success.”
That model has evolved and grown since the first season when Linda Desruisseaux came from Hawaii to play for the Lady Ducks and went on to play at Northeastern University.
“Very early on, it was not so much us teaching kids to play as girls from the region looking to gain exposure through tournaments,” McGarrigle said. “That’s where you start. As soon as we had some success, we started hockey initiation clinics and forming teams for long-term.”
This season, eight seniors and one junior – Tatum Coats (St. Cloud State) – made college commitments.
Four seniors will play at Division I universities: Katie Beaumier (Rensselaer) Kendra Farole (Rensselaer), Lilli Marchant (Lindenwood) and Tia Stoddard (Clarkson).
Four more will play in Division III: Kai-Lilly Karpman (Trinity), Kylie Kramer (St. Benedict), Alicia Nickolenko (Wesleyan) and Tara Turcotte (New England College).
Since 2009, the club has played more than 90 percent of its graduating seniors into D-I and D-III programs, double the rate of most Tier I programs.
— Chris Bayee