20 March, 2017

Legacy Built on Leadership for Dutchwomen Captain Alli Devins

Representing the strong fighting spirit of the Union Dutchwomen, Alli Devins employed a never say quit attitude. Having missed less than five games in her NCAA career, the pride of White River Junction, Vermont always set a positive example, with her solid work ethic and devotion to her teammates, it was part of an admirable commitment that the younger players on the Dutchwomen can build upon in the seasons to come.

Having served among the Dutchwomen’s captains in both her junior and senior seasons, it was testament to a strong leadership quality that was evident during her prep school years. Having starred with The Westminster School Martlets, she was bestowed the honor of captaincy in her senior year. Complementing her prominence on the ice hockey team, Devins was also an elite competitor in both field hockey and softball.

With a Dutchwomen roster that consists of just 19 players and 11 freshmen (including three goaltenders) in 2016-17, newly arrived head coach Josh Sciba placed a lot of confidence in Devins, naming her co-captain once again, and she rewarded him for such loyalty. For a program looking to bring about a new culture of confidence and positive attitude, Devins, who is also one of the roster’s shot blocking specialists, was keen to assume the added responsibilities, taking on the role of captain with tremendous pride and enthusiasm,

“To be named captain of the Union Women's team was a great honor.  I was originally selected as one of four captains my junior season and it was such an incredible learning experience for me.  I think having a year to be alongside three other captains allowed me to learn from them and also gave me a positive experience moving into senior year when I would be alongside Kathryn Davis. 

Being a captain has brought on a lot of responsibility but has given me more confidence because of my increased ability to problem solve. Originally, I was a leader by example and felt that by working hard I was being a great leader. 

This allowed me to expect a lot from myself and set my teammates to a high standard.  In this past season, the vocal leader in me has been able to come out.  I think I was a voice that was needed in the locker room, the weight room and all other aspects of the team dynamic.  Although this is an area that I am still trying to improve, I was able to learn about what it meant to be an all around leader, not just one by example.”

Devins would begin her senior season on a strong note, logging an assist and three shots on goal in the season opener against the Connecticut Huskies on September 30. A solid six shot effort against the conference rival Cornell Big Red on October 29 was followed by nine shots in a road contests against the Brown Bears on November 4.

During these performances for Devins, there was a significant milestone that added luster to the prestige of her captaincy. After suffering a 59-game winless streak, the Dutchwomen emerged victorious against Penn State in a riveting 4-2 win on December 8. Highlighted by a pair of two-goal performances from fellow senior Emily Erickson and Haley Shugart (who logged the game-winning goal), it represented the beginning of a new chapter for the Dutchwomen, turning the page on its winless streak. With the victory taking place on home ice, it represented the first win for Devins as Dutchwomen captain. Deservingly, she was on the ice for the final shift, a fitting tribute.

Before the holiday break, Devins would also record her first multi-point performance of the season, factoring into every Dutchwomen goal with a pair of assists in a 2-1 home victory against the Minnesota State Mavericks.

In the New Year, Devins would resume her scoring ways, providing a goal and an assist in an admirable January 7 effort against Brown that saw Devins work tirelessly, peppering Brown goaltender Monica Elvin with six shots in a 4-3 loss.

Although Devins did not register any points in a January 14 tilt with the Harvard Crimson, it represented a proud milestone in her career. Overtime heroics from Katie Laughlin, tucking in a rebound past Crimson backstop Molly Tissenbaum gave the Dutchwomen their first-ever win in program history against the Ivy League powerhouse. Fighting back from a 2-1 deficit after the first period, Devins contributed to a remarkable display of determination, as the Dutchwomen contributed a solid team effort, forcing overtime.

Equally impressive was Devins’ performance against Dartmouth in her last game on home ice with the Dutchwomen. The February 11 affair resulted in Devins scoring a power play goal in the third period against goaltender Robyn Chemago, also in her senior season with Dartmouth. Devins’ goal would stand as the game-winning tally in the 2-1 final, providing her with a treasured moment in her proud career, while allowing the Dutchwomen with another encouraging win.

In a weekend that also included Senior Night and her birthday, it was a coming of age for Devins, allowing her an opportunity to celebrate her career with friends, family and the dedicated fans and individuals that make Dutchwomen hockey such an integral part of her athletic endeavors. Allowing Devins a series of treasured moments that shall be revered for a lifetime, she reflects fondly on the event,

“I think my favorite memory of my entire career was my senior night.  So many incredible things surrounded me on this memorable day and it is one I will never forget.  Surrounded by my family, friends, teammates, coaches, faculty and staff was everything that I could have imagined it being. 

It also happened to be my 22nd birthday and we were able to play my best friend from high school, Eleni Tebano. 

To end the night with a game winning goal also sealed the deal for me.  After the game, the rush of emotions finally hit me and all I wanted was to be able to hug my family and share this special day with them. Josh told all of us seniors that this would be a day that you will remember for the rest of your life and I can easily say that it will be a memory that I will never forget.  To have my teammates by my side was the best feeling in the world and it ended my home career on a high note.”

Having carved a hockey legacy with the Union Dutchwomen built on leadership and tireless play, Alli Devins definitely made an impression on fans, coaches and teammates alike. While the program looks to build on the solid efforts from this season, of which Devins was an essential component, her ability to help the team bounce back from an unfortunate winless season in 2015-16, regaining its confidence with significant wins this season, may prove to be her finest contribution.

During her hockey odyssey, Devins also acknowledged that it was not a sojourn taken alone. Quick to point out the strong support that made such an odyssey worthwhile, highlighted by a fantastic family influence, it is an example of her grace and devotion, qualities that shall always make her a valued teammate.

“I would first say my parents.  They have supported me through everything and were always my biggest fans.  Even when things weren't easy, they always showed up and were there for as many games as they could have been.  My two older brothers have also been a huge part of my career.  We have all been close and they have been huge supporters of me and have pushed me to my limits. 

At Union, one of the most influential person for me has been our strength coach Dan Gabelman.  Through my four years, he has been our consistency and has always been there.  His intensity has been incredible for us and the weight room is where we have always thrived with his positive attitude.  I know personally through the coaching change, he was willing to do whatever he needed to for our team. 

I could go on forever with this question because there have been so many influential people in my hockey career, but these have been the people who have influenced me the most during my time at Union.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Image obtained from: https://twitter.com/UnionWHockey/status/834173189584482310

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