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Sarah Wilson proudly takes on captain’s role for Team USA at ISBHF Worlds in Zug

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As the American Street Hockey Institute assembled its roster for the 2015 ISBHF Women’s Worlds in Zug, Switzerland, Sarah Wilson was bestowed the honor of the team captaincy. Following a remarkable ice hockey career with the Ivy League’s Harvard Crimson, along with a stint on the United States U22 women’s ice hockey team, the sport of ball hockey has served as a remarkable extension of her athletic career.

Raised in Bow, New Hampshire, Wilson logged 103 career points for the Harvard Crimson. Competing with the program from 2005-09, one of her most outstanding moments came in her freshman season, as she was recognized as the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 ECAC Tournament. As a senior, she would also gain MVP honors in the prestigious Beanpot Tournament. As a side note, the last two goals of her NCAA career would be scored in her final game, a March 7, 2009 contest against Rensselaer.

Having also earned a Masters Degree in theology from Boston University, it was the Boston Ski and Sports Center that would bring Wilson back into competitive hockey. With the encouragement of goaltender Liz Conner, a fellow competitor in the Sports Center, she would make her debut for the US national team at the 2011 ISBHF Women’s Worlds in Slovakia.

Getting the opportunity to wear number 17, the number she has utilized throughout her hockey career, she earned two Game MVP awards in Slovakia. Such an achievement would mark the beginning of a remarkable run with the US team. Two years later, she would compete at the ISBHF Women’s Worlds in St. John’s, Newfoundland, contributing to a bronze medal.

Currently calling Sherborn, Massachusetts home, Wilson has not only grown into an essential veteran for the US team, she is part of its leadership core. Joined by alternate captains Julia Bronson, Amber Cornwall and Alessandra Glista, Wilson enjoyed a great career milestone by being named the team captain for Zug,   

“I was completely honored to be named as captain for this team. This marked the first time that the US program was really restructured and required more of a commitment from its players. To be named as leader for this go-round was a true privilege because I felt like I got to be a part of a new movement towards making the US program viable and a force to be reckoned with in the future.

It was also a humbling experience because I could look around at the members of that team and see each and every one of them as a leader. Everyone was so important in regards to accomplishing the goals we set forth and to be able to lead such an inspiring group was a real pleasure.” 

Of note, Wilson was not the only Ivy League ice hockey player that was part of the US entry at this year’s ISBHF Women’s Worlds. Three members from the Dartmouth Big Green were also on-hand; Linsday Holdcroft, who holds several of the Big Green’s goaltending records, along with Julia Bronson and Kelly Foley proudly donning the US jersey. Two other members of the US team had also competed in NCAA hockey in New England; Melissa Tetreau from Boston College, plus Holy Cross player Samantha Tetreau, along with Boston University’s Karen Levin.

The chance to compete at the 2015 edition of the ISBHF Worlds in Zug brought Wilson face-to-face with another prominent player from the Harvard Crimson. One of several Canadian-born players from the Greater Toronto Area with Italian heritage, Nicole Corriero competed for Team Italia in Zug.

Known affectionately among hockey fans as “Scorriero”, she is one of the most prolific scorers in the history of NCAA hockey. During the event, Team USA and Team Italia would compete, pitting Harvard alums Corriero and Wilson on opposite ends of the floor. The chance to share said floor with a fellow Crimson alum was an event highlight for Wilson,

“It was great to see and play against Nicole in Switzerland! Although admittedly, I would rather play with her than against her. She is the all-time women’s collegiate record holder for goals in a single season so I cannot say I was too excited to see her as an opponent.

However, it is really great to see ice hockey players finding ball hockey after collegiate careers are over. I have been a staunch proponent of ice hockey players making the transition after college so I’m always excited to see more involved.” 

Although Wilson and Corriero were not teammates with the Crimson, the pride that comes from donning the program colors transcends time, resulting in a sisterhood that comprises an even bigger team. In reflecting on the experience of meeting Wilson in Zug, was highly evident for Corriero.

“Sarah and I actually missed each other by a year. I graduated the year before she started. That said because of the amazing Harvard women’s hockey network we got to know each other fairly well despite the fact that we never played together.

That said, it was definitely fun to play against a fellow Harvard player and share the amazing experience in Zug with her. You push a little harder sometimes when you know the players on the other team.”

In a 6-2 final for the United States, Wilson would score the game’s first goal, which was also her first in the tournament, with an assist credited to Julia Bronson, who would finish the tournament as the leading scorer for the US. Of note, Wilson also earned one of the assists in the final goal for the US, scored by Karen Levin. Corriero would also provide a two-point effort, scoring once in the third period, while logging an assist on the game’s final goal, scored by Annalisa Mazzarello. As a side note, Corriero would rank tenth in tournament scoring.

By tournament’s end, Wilson would register four points overall. Although the result was a visceral fourth place finish, it could not diminish the feeling of pride and honor that Wilson felt from having the C on her sweater. Despite making the decision to step down from the national team, her role as one of the game’s playing pioneers in the United States cannot be disputed,

“As with wearing the C, wearing the US jersey carries the same honor and responsibility. You lose some of your personal identity and take on more of a group mentality. It is about representing your country and your teammates. To win bronze in 2013 was a cool experience; it’s great to see tangible results for all of the work that you put in leading up to Worlds and to hear that anthem play after your last game. Gives you the shivers. Even without that result in 2015 though, I couldnt be more proud of the team and the effort. We represented the US and wore that jersey with pride. 

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Images obtained from: http://zug2015.com/en/teams/women/group-5/usa-united-states/ and https://twitter.com/womensteamitaly

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