Sally Mooney knew she had a chance to play a prominent role this year on the women's hockey team at State University of New York at Potsdam. What the New Albany resident didn't expect was that she would be one of the Bears' offensive leaders.
Mooney, a freshman, is leading SUNY-Potsdam in scoring with six points, including five assists, in 12 games. Her goal came in a 4-2 loss to Hamilton College on Dec. 4, highlighting a four-point week that culminated in her being named to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference-West Division honor roll for the week ending Dec. 9.
"My goal initially this season was to just do the best I could. I never thought I'd get the playing time I have," Mooney said. "I thought I'd be a regular freshman that would sit the bench for a while. But we lost our top three goal scorers from last year, so that was a good opportunity for me to jump in."
Mooney attended New Albany High School her freshman and sophomore years, participating in cross country and lacrosse before transferring to Wyoming Seminary, a private school in Kingston, Pa. The move, which she called "the best decision of my life," was inspired by her goal to play college hockey.
"I was playing for the Columbus Sting and we went to a district camp," Mooney said. "Some recruiters were there and they introduced Wyoming Seminary to me. I applied and got in. They helped me through the college process. We went to a lot of tournaments where we got a lot of exposure. (In Ohio), I didn't go to those types of tournaments. It was the right decision for me and it's why (Wyoming Seminary) was a good move."
SUNY-Potsdam coach Jay Green took notice of Mooney and considered her one of his top recruits last year.
"We had to increase our team speed because we lost some good forwards. That's one of Sally's best attributes," said Green, who also lauded her penalty-kill skills. "She has a very good shot, especially in close to the net. The speed and strength we go up against presented her a challenge compared to last year and I'm sure she'd tell you she's been frustrated a bit, but she's progressing. She's learning to see the ice better and she's been one of our most consistent players."
Mooney also ran cross country and was on the lacrosse team at Wyoming Seminary. She played goalkeeper and was named the lacrosse team's Most Improved Player last year.
During commencement, Mooney received the President's Award for Outstanding Service in recognition of her athletic accomplishments and for serving as a positive role model and the Jerry A. and Edith K. Iscovitz Memorial Good Sportsmanship Award. She also was active in Peer Group and served as a resident assistant in her dorm for two years.
The same week Mooney was named to the ECAC-West honor roll, teammate Izzy Fayerman was named conference Player of the Week. Fayerman is tied for second on the team in scoring with five points and has a team-high five goals. SUNY-Potsdam is 3-8-1 overall and 2-5 in the ECAC-West.
Green said Mooney takes as much pride in assisting on goals as anything else that she does on the ice.
"She has a strong skill set, no question," he said. "She's adjusted well and she's becoming more comfortable."
Mooney is majoring in business economics and hopes to own a business someday, likely after a stint in the military. She is an ROTC member and several members of her family, including her father, brother and sister, were or are serving in the armed forces.
SUNY-Potsdam, which has not played since Dec. 8, resumes its schedule Friday, Jan. 4, against Nichols College in the Saint Michael's Holiday Classic in South Burlington, Vt. The Bears were 2-1-1 in their last four games before the holiday break.
"I'm hopeful we pick up right where we left off," Mooney said. "We'll see."