By Bob York
“There are approximately 24,000 female players, ages 15 or older, registered with USA Hockey. From that pool of 24,000, we have identified the top 60 players. You are one of those top 60! You are the top ¼ of 1 percent of your sport and YOU are the players who will define this next ‘quad.’”
Director, USA Women’s Hockey
Shenae Lundberg ’11 is among those top 60 players … among that top ¼ of 1 percent of USA Women’s Hockey. That’s why she received the above e-mail that began with the italicized paragraph. And that’s also why Lundberg is now a member of the “Quad Squad.”
Lundberg, who has been a standout in goal for the Deerfield Academy girls’ hockey team for the past four years, didn’t play for the Big Green over the holiday break — she played for her country.
It all began when Lundberg flew to Minneapolis, Minn., from her home in Peterborough, N.H. There, she gathered with the rest of the best to attend what Carey describes as a “quad” meeting, or as she emphasized in her letter, an “opportunity to define this next quad … what we do now, our commitment level, our drive as individuals and our ability to support the team over the course of the next four years, will directly impact our ability to reach our goal.” And that goal is gold at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.
Lundberg and the rest of her teammates made the first step toward that gold at the Under-18 World Championships in Stockholm, where they won gold, beating Canada 5-2.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to be playing for the United States,” said Lundberg, before the competition. “And, like everyone else who has ever laced up a pair of skates, I’ve always dreamed about having an opportunity to play at the Olympic level.” But just like every one of those other top 59 players, ages 15 and older, “we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Whether it helps her or not, Lundberg has history on her side. Some former members of the Deerfield girls’ hockey program have been making a habit of late of donning the Red, White and Blue come Olympic time. Forward Jamie Hagerman, who played at DA (’99) and Harvard University, won a Bronze Medal at the 2006 games in Turin, Italy. Then, Molly Schaus, who played goalie at Deerfield (’06) and at Boston College, won a Silver Medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, in February. Schaus, who took a year’s hiatus from college hockey, has returned to play for the Eagles and will likely give the 2014 games a try as well.
And just think, if Schaus should make it back onto the Olympic roster, and Lundberg is successful in her bid to make the grade, the Big Green would have two former goaltenders vying for gold.
Although this was Lundberg’s first appearance on the world stage, she won’t need any introductions to her teammates. She was on the roster and split goaltending duties with Megan Miller this past August when the United States swept a three-game exhibition from its Canadian counterparts at Lake Placid.
“I started the second of the three games,” explained Lundberg of a series that went the way of the U.S.A. by scores of 4-1, 3-2, 4-3. “We were supposed to split the third game,” added Lundberg, who registered 25 saves during her outing, “but Megan’s first game was pretty one-sided … in our favor … so she played the whole (third) game.”
Anyone who has tried to put a puck past Lundberg during her three plus seasons at Deerfield, wouldn’t be surprised a bit at seeing her in a U.S.A. jersey, because she’s been tough to beat during that span.
Her goals-against average as a freshman was a very respectable 2.32 and has been dropping like a rock ever since. It was 1.87 as a sophomore and 1.68 as a junior. Lundberg’s save percentage, meanwhile, has been heading in the other direction. As a freshman, she stopped 89 percent of the shots she saw, while those percentages rose to 91 and 92 percent as a sophomore and junior, respectively.
During her junior campaign alone, Lundberg, who will be playing her collegiate hockey at Union College (N.Y.), registered four shutouts, to give her eight to date during her Big Green career. She allowed just one goal in five other games and gave up more than three goals (four) in a game just once all season.
“I’m not surprised that Shenae has met with the success that she has,” said Mike Buckley, who has served as Lundberg’s goaltending coach for the past seven years. “She sets goals for herself and sticks to achieving those goals until she’s achieved them … then she moves on to accomplish something a little more difficult.
“And I think that that’s the key to her success,” added Buckley. “She works hard and never allows herself be distracted from what she’s doing. And due to that, she’s met with success at every level she’s played at and I’m sure she will meet with success on the international level as well.”
We led this story with the first paragraph of Reagan Carey’s e-mail … we’ll close it with the fourth paragraph.
“You should be extremely proud and honored to be recognized in this elite group of women. It is a tremendous accomplishment. Be proud of it, be honored by it, but do not be satisfied.”
Bob York is a Recorder wire editor. His e-mail address is email@example.com.