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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Sousa Shines for Beacons

There’s a new name in UMass Boston hockey, and Rachel Sousa has wasted no time making it known. Recently named the Eastern College Athletic Conference East Rookie of the Week for the third time and second week straight, Sousa has proved that her stellar play is no fluke. Her consistent effort on the ice has been reflected in the box scores.

Head Coach Maura Crowell has taken notice. “She’s doing some really nice things,” she said of Rachel, who leads all ECAC East freshmen in points with 27. Sousa has been effective in all phases of the game, but she has had a big impact on the power play. Sousa’s six goals and four assists have helped spark the Beacons’ offense with the advantage. “Down low in front of the net, that’s where she’s really dangerous,” says Crowell. “She finds the puck and can bury it.”

The Woburn High School product has made a quick transition to the Division III level, but she remains soft-spoken. “I learn a lot from the upperclassmen,” she says humbly. Throughout the season Sousa has shown a knack for getting her teammates involved. “It’s good to see your teammates make plays.” Sousa knows what that looks like; her 16 helpers this season are the most among freshmen. “She has good vision,” says Coach Crowell, complimenting her rookie. “She slows the game down and finds the open man.”

Asked why she thought her 5′ 4″ forward was performing so well in her first season with the team, Crowell responded, “She’s doing all the little things right.” Those little things include the practice ice as well. “She’s getting stronger,” Crowell said of Sousa, who hasn’t missed a practice the entire season. When interviewed, she continued to be humble, but her experience playing with the Chelmsford Lions junior hockey team appears to be paying dividends.

Sousa, together with sophomore transfer Maria Nasta, has made a big addition to the Beacons’ scoring attack. Nasta and Sousa rank first and third respectively in conference scoring, combining to create a formidable frontline. Sousa can appreciate sharing the ice with a player like Maria. “She can really put the puck in the net,” Sousa said about her teammate. The two wingers have been anchors of the Beacons’ offense this season.

Coach Crowell looks forward to more of the same. “I hope that they produce like they have been doing,” she says, anticipating a strong push to finish the season. When asked about next season, Coach Crowell was very positive, hopeful that additional talent could be added to strengthen her team’s depth. However, Crowell, like her players, is focused on this season’s stretch run.

The Beacons are currently tied for third in the ECAC East with 18 points. Four games remain for the Beacons, who played powerhouse Saint Anselm Saturday at the Clark Athletic Center. Saint Anselm holds sole possession of first place with a dominant 14-0 conference record. Coach Crowell believes her team is ready. “They know that every win is two points in those standings and makes us stronger in the playoffs.” Sousa seems to share the coach’s confidence. “If we play hard and work hard all week we have a chance to beat anyone,” she said.

This contest is a good measuring stick for the Beacons heading into the playoffs. A win could be just the thing needed to propel UMass Boston toward a run at the ECAC Division III Women’s East championship. More importantly for a young team, it is another chance to gain valuable big-game experience. With such promising young talent, UMass Boston women’s hockey certainly has a bright future.