ALMATY, Kazakhstan – The Adrian College American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division I women's hockey contingent of head coach Brett Berger and forwards Brittany Levasseur, Jessie Rushing and defenseman Sabrena Camp recently helped the U.S. National University Team to the bronze medal of the 2017 World University Games, which ran here from Jan. 28 to Feb. 6.
"I am extremely proud of Jessie, Britt and Sabrena as they represented themselves, myself, and Adrian College in the best ways," stated Berger. "They took full advantage of the experience and were all big contributors to our ability to earn the bronze medal. I am extremely happy for them to have shared this experience and pushed themselves to compete on such a large and skilled stage.
"The Olympic Village was a great location and everything throughout the Games was run extremely professionally. The facilities were top-notch and the events were all exciting," Berger continued. "The biggest adjustment was the time change. We truly felt as if these were the Olympics with the treatment we were receiving from local fans and organizers. This is a great event and great honor to represent Team USA overseas."
Amber Greene (University of Massachusetts) made 28 saves and Kendra Myers (Grand Valley State University) scored the game-winner 1 minute and 24 seconds into the final period to lead the U.S. Women’s National University Team to a 3-0 victory over China in the third-place game.
With the win, Team USA (2-2; W-L) finished in third place for the second time in the past three Winter World University Games. The U.S. also finished in third at the 2013 Winter World University Games in Trentino, Italy.
“I’m very proud of this team,” said Shelley Looney, head coach of the 2017 U.S. Women’s National University Team. “We’ve come so far in such a short period of time and we couldn’t have asked for a better performance here in our final game.”
Berger added: "It was an honor for me to coach Team USA overseas. The pride felt and the success we accomplished cannot be explained in words. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I was fortunate enough to be a part of such a great group of players and staff."
The Bulldogs' trio is the second-most from one school on Team USA. Rushing served as the team co-captain with Cassie Dunne from Penn State. Camp registered an assist in a 3-2 win over Japan. All three Bulldogs appeared in all four games of the tournament and combined for five shots on goal (with Camp and Rushing, two apiece).
"My experience in Kazakhstan meant so much to me. Not only winning a bronze medal while wearing a USA jersey, but also getting to meet so many amazing and supportive people," Rushing reflected. "Being given the honor to be a part of the team and being chosen as one of the leaders for the team was indescribable. I felt we represented ourselves, our families, and Adrian College to the best of our abilities. I will never forget this experience nor will I forget what we accomplished as a team."
Camp commented: I thought this trip would involve 20 or so girls traveling overseas to play hockey, and that would be that. I was so wrong. Those 20 girls and I, as well as our amazing coaching staff, medical staff, equipment staff, and the wonderful people and volunteers of Almaty made this trip the best experience possible.
"In the rinks, we played to the best of our ability and the competition was inspiring. At the Athlete's Village where we stayed, the surrounding cultures mingled while we shared and laughed. The volunteers always had on the biggest smiles and would go out of their way to help you, even in the smallest thing. The locals wanted pictures--and I mean every one of them. It was amazing to be a part of an event that brought so many people together in love, companionship and competition. I am truly humbled to have been a part of the 2017 Universiade."
Myers broke a scoreless tie 1:24 into the final period on a play assisted by Nicole Matthews (Miami University of Ohio) and Rachael Booth (Miami). Leah MacArthur (University of Colorado) doubled the U.S. advantage just 3:06 after Myers’ tally. Maddie Wolsmann (Michigan State University) tallied with 1:41 remaining to make the final 3-0. Jordan Anderson (University of Minnesota) and Alyssa Visalli (Miami) also provided assists for the U.S.
The U.S. competed at the 2017 Winter World University Games alongside Canada, China, Great Britain, Japan, Russia and host Kazakhstan. All games were played at the Baluan Sholak Sports Palace. For complete coverage of Team USA at the 2017 Winter World University Games, click here.
Levasseur is a freshman out of Pepperell, Mass. (Lawrence Academy [Groton, Mass.]), who ranks third for Adrian with 10 goals and has a fifth-team-leading 17 points. A graduate student from Hernando, Miss. (St. Louis Jr. Blues), Rushing has grabbed 10 points on two goals and eight assists. Camp (Rochester Hills, Mich./Compuware AAA), who is a junior, has registered three assists.
The USA roster included players from all over the ACHA, with 11 representing the Central Collegiate Women's Hockey Association, seven players representing the Western Women's Collegiate Hockey League, and three players from the Eastern Collegiate Women's Hockey League. Nine different schools were represented including Colorado, Adrian, Grand Valley State, Massachusetts, Miami-Ohio, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State University, and Lindenwood-Belleville University.
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(Editor's note: Photos courtesy of USA Hockey, which also contributed to this news release.)