Defensemen providing solid foundation for Quaker Valley hockey
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Some of Kevin Quinn's best Quaker Valley hockey teams have been built from the back with a strong core group of defensemen.
The 2013-14 team is no different.
The Quakers have allowed only 13 goals through last week — an average of just more than 1.6 goals per game — despite having to replace three graduates from last season's team, Stephen Wei, Nathaniel Weil and Stefan Henschke.
“We have won four Penguins Cups and two state titles and all those teams have been defensively sound,” Quinn said. “And it hasn't just been our goaltending but our defensemen and forwards willing to play defense.”
Quaker Valley returned the senior duo of Ryan Lottes and Alex Quinn this season.
And while Lottes has missed half of the Quakers games due to commitments with a travel team, the veteran presence on the ice causes a constant nuisance for opponents' first lines.
“The biggest thing with them is they are just so poised,” Kevin Quinn said. “They all have abilities with their skating, stick handling and communication. And for the most part they don't lose their composure. They relish the opportunities to go out and challenge themselves.”
But after the pair of seniors, it is a group of juniors and underclassmen making a difference this season.
“I knew we lost a few guys which is always tough,” sophomore Jacob Kuzma said. “We knew the defensemen needed to step up to fill those guys' roles.”
Kuzma has been one of the surprises of the season.
The youngster has recorded four goals and four assists and has become one of the Quakers' most consistent players.
Juniors Trenton Ruprecht and Hunter Wolz bring experience from last season, as does sophomore Jack Woodburn.
Owen Harkins is a sophomore providing depth.
“Everyone is doing really well,” Kuzma said. “Everyone is doing the best they can. They are playing their position and playing really solid.”
With the depth at defenseman for Quaker Valley, the position should continue to be a strength for the team. It is just a matter of what the players put into it.
“It is an ongoing competition,” Coach Quinn said. “If you get the opportunity, you need to take advantage of it. When you have competition, it breeds success.”
The Quakers return to the ice Dec. 19 as they host Thomas Jefferson for an 8:30 p.m. start.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.