By Luke Baynes
With a record of 0-20, last year was a tough season for the Champlain Valley Union High School girls’ ice hockey team.
But you’d never know it from talking to teammates and twin sisters Molly and Evangeline (Eva) Dunphy.
“Even though we didn’t have the best season statistically last year, it was definitely one of the best teams I’ve ever been on, because we did come together and really supported each other,” Eva Dunphy said.
Molly Dunphy agreed with her sister, saying she’s optimistic about the upcoming season.
“The thing about hockey is you have to get very comfortable with your team to do well in games,” Molly Dunphy said. “I believe we’re a lot stronger than last year. Skating-wise we’re definitely a lot better, and we’re really starting to mold together as a team, so I think we’re going to have a much better season.”
The 16-year-old juniors both play forward positions, with Molly typically starting at left winger and Eva spelling the right wing position on the second line. The Williston residents also play field hockey for the CVU Redhawks, with Molly usually found at right inner and Eva stationed between the posts as goalie.
“Ice hockey’s always been my number one sport, and it’s the sport that I’m better at, because I just started field hockey last year,” Molly Dunphy said. “But the body positioning is so similar if you’re defending—it’s the same exact kind of angles for ice hockey. Shooting-wise, slap shots and wrist shots in ice hockey also translate over to field hockey.”
By contrast, Eva is better on the turf than the ice.
“I’m much better at field hockey than I am at ice hockey, but I like both of them for different reasons,” she said. “I really like ice hockey because you can be aggressive and not get caught for it.”
CVU girls’ ice hockey coach Ben Psaros said the Dunphys’ contrasting playing styles complement each other well.
“Eva’s come a long way. She’s much more of a puck handler than she was last year,” Psaros said. “She’s more of a hard-nosed forward, whereas Molly’s more of a finesse, tactical kind of forward.”
Psaros, a former CVU hockey player who graduated in 2000, is in his second season as coach of the girls’ Redhawks squad.
“They have a lot of fun,” he said. “They’re always on time, positive and they just want to be here. It’s a good dynamic, a good locker room.”
After last year’s 0-20 mark, Psaros is hoping to put a crooked number in the win column this season. But with just three sets of forwards and two sets of defensemen on the roster, Psaros said injuries could play the biggest factor in the success of the season.
“We have to stay healthy, or we’re in trouble,” Psaros said.