Goalie Rachel Stemerman '09 Returns to Lineup After Injury, Sets School Records & Named All-NESCAC

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After missing the final two periods of the Hamilton game Jan. 25 and games vs. Amherst and Conn. College the next weekend due to injury, goaltender Rachel Stemerman '09 (#1, photo by SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com) returned to the Cardinal lineup to face Colby Fri., Feb. 6. She racked up 51 saves in the contest but Wesleyan was blanked by the visiting Mules, 3-0.

Closing out the home NESCAC weekend facing Bowdoin Sat., Feb. 7, Stemerman again made 51 saves as the Polar Bears skated away with a 5-3 decision.

For Stemerman, it was her sixth and seventh game with 50 or more saves this season and brought her career total to 10 in 80 starts. With 818 saves to that point in 2008-09, an average of more than 45 a game, Stemerman shattered the seasonal mark set by Emma DeSimone '01, who logged 775 saves while playing virtually every minute (1456) during a 24-game schedule in 1999-00.

Against Bowdoin, Hannah Jackson '09 came through with a three-point game as she had a goal and two assists while Sena Ito '11 had a goal and an assist and Julia Cohen '09 added a pair of assists but it wasn't enough as the Polar Bears netted three goals in the middle stanza to pull out to a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes of action. Bowdoin made it 5-2 five minutes into the third period before the Cardinals finished off the scoring with two minutes remaining. Bowdoin won both meetings with Wesleyan this year and is 19-0-1 vs. the Cardinals in the last 20 meetings.

Colby scored one goal in each period to also sweep the NESCAC season series. The game-winning goal came midway through the first frame during Colby's first power-play opportunity. The Cardinals created a couple of good scoring chances of their own during the opening 10 minutes of the second period but a late Mule tally upped the gap to 2-0. Another goal at 6:18 of the third period iced it for Colby.

Wesleyan played at Salve Regina in a non-conference matchup Tues., Feb. 10 and the results matched the Colby score as the Seahawks took a 3-0 win with a goal in each period. Stemerman logged 29 stops.

The season concluded with a trip to Middlebury Fri., Feb. 20 followed by a game at Williams Feb. 21. Against the Panthers, Stemerman made 41 saves as Middlebury enjoyed a 48-11 margin in shots and a 7-2 advantage on the scoreboard. After the Panthers moved out to a 4-0 lead in the second period, Wesleyan got goals from Ito and Molly Friedemann '11 to send the game into the second intermission with a 4-2 score. Middlebury picked up all the scoring in the final period to pull away for the win.

In the final game of Stemerman's career, and 83rd start, she posted 35 saves against the Ephs in a tough 2-1 setback. Wesleyan drew first blood at 10:44 of the opening period as Ito scored on assists from Julia Heffelfinger '11 and Cohen. It was her team-leading eighth goal of the year. But the Ephs responded four minutes later to tie the game and scored the winner at 4:12 of the middle stanza. The Cardinals had four power-play chances in the last period but could not get the puck in the net.

Final figures on Stemerman's career show 3,012 saves, the second-most in NCAA Division III history. She averaged 36.3 saves a contest. Her 923 saves this season, an average of 42 a game, was 148 higher than any previous season on record at Wesleyan and is the fifth-highest in NCAA Division III history. She had a career goals-against average of 3.29 with a 92.1 save percentage. For her tremendous performance during the 2008-09 campaign, Stemerman was honored by the NESCAC coaches with a spot on the all-NESCAC second team.