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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Second-hand Star

Second-hand Star

The road was long and winding, but Stephanie Medeiros finally found her way home as a starting defenseman with the 2007-08 Lady Beacons hockey team. And as the Beacons’ top defender, the team couldn’t be more excited to see her get comfortable in her new digs, both on and off the ice.

Following a verbal commitment to St. Anselm’s of New Hampshire, and a one-semester stint at Division I Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, the Somerset native and second-semester student feels as though she’s finally at a place where she’s appreciated. One of those her admirers is Coach Maura Crowell.

“She’s a great role model,” Crowell said. “She’s always doing the little things that others don’t always do, and she always works hard. We’re so glad to have her.”

Quinnipiac, for some unknown reason, felt differently. The school wasn’t a great fit in any way for Medeiros. “Things in my locker went missing right away, and I felt like the coach [Michael Barrett] never really gave me a chance,” the sophomore said. “In my first week here, I felt more at home than I ever did at Quinnipiac.”

Medeiros has fit in nicely with the Beacons, playing in one game following a six-game suspension levied by the NCAA for playing in too many games with another school prior to transferring to a new team. Medeiros’ outlook on that ruling isn’t favorable, but true to her enthusiastic approach, she’s able to laugh about it. “It’s kind of ridiculous that I had to sit out longer than an athlete who failed their first drug test,” Medeiros muses. “But I feel like I’m home now.”

As happy as Medeiros is to be playing her home games at the Clark Athletic Center, enduring a few bumps in her collegiate career on the way to UMB toughened the talented 5’2″ defenseman. After verbally committing to St. Anselm’s, she ended up at Quinnipiac because Coach Michael Barrett promised her an athletic scholarship.

At the end of the first semester, Barrett, who refused to comment or return phone calls, told Medeiros that she was only a “practice player,” and that no scholarship would be offered. A curious opinion because, following high school, Medeiros was recruited by Division 1 powerhouses like Colgate University in New York. At that point, Quinnipiac was in Medeiros’ rear view mirror.

Enter UMass Boston. After recruiting Medeiros in the fall and losing her to a Division I program, Crowell figured she’d seen the last of the speedy defender. But Medeiros came calling and transferred to UMB in the spring of 2007. Crowell, for one, is grateful that Medeiros has finally found a home. “She’s been a great fit,” Crowell said. “She’s strong, smart and a high-energy player.”

Despite missing those six opening games, it’s impossible to tell that Medeiros is skating with new teammates. “I feel like I haven’t missed any time at all,” the undeclared defenseman said. “I’ve been practicing with the team, and that’s allowed me to adjust to my teammates’ style of play.”

Having a Division I talent on the roster isn’t anything new for Crowell. The women’s hockey program now boasts four Division I transfer players (Amanda Cianciulli, Sandy Parlato, Medeiros, and Jessica Sams) and has recruits from Arizona, Minnesota, New York, Maine and New Hampshire. All of which means the program, which has already been successful, is built for the future around young stars like Medeiros.

A star on the ice and in the classroom, Medeiros’ eager personality is clearly infectious on to her teammates. “I just like to have fun. My attitude is that I’m going to go hard, and I want you to go hard with me,” the budding leader said.

Despite the distance she’s traveled in the last three semesters, Medeiros is ecstatic to be back on the ice. “I grew up on the ice,” Medeiros says. “It’s where I belong.” Watching Medeiros skate, it’s clear that her words ring true.

The only question remains: what was Quinnipiac thinking? Beacon fans will never know. Nor will they care. These fans now know what Medeiros has learned: There’s no place like home-or UMB.