ELIZABETH CAPORALE ’16
The Trinity College Women’s Hockey team has been working hard to achieve a second NESCAC Championship. With a record of 10-8-1, the women still have the chance to achieve their goal. A big part of the team, both this year and last, is the defense. The biggest component of this team is goalie Sydney Belinskas ’18, who helped the defense to post a school record 795 saves last year. Belinskas has already made a name for herself; she led the NESCAC in save percentage and recorded the 2nd most shutouts in a season in program history.
The team has recorded six shutouts this season, which Belinskas attributes to her mental acumen. “The biggest key to my success has been keeping my mind clear. It doesn’t give negativity the chance to cross my mind. I know I just have to focus on keeping the puck from crossing that red line and will do everything and anything to win that inch. I can train and practice all I want, but mental preparation has been my number one priority this season.” Belinskas’ preparation has made her Trinity’s savior many times over. During the opening round of last year’s NESCAC Tournament, Belinskas shut out Williams with 37 saves. In the final against Middlebury, Belinskas had a career high 42 saves, leading to the team’s first ever NESCAC Champion.
None of this success would have happened if Belinskas didn’t learn from her high school experience at Williston-Northampton in Massachusetts. “I was taught excellent time management at Williston. My senior English classes prepared me for my future college essay writing. I found my love to write in high school and I could never have done so without being taught construction, fluidity, and how to show and not tell. Athletically, Williston also prepared me for success. Through strength training I was able to continue my love of lifting. There was always a constant drive in my head to be successful. Being loud on the field, seeing people sacrifice for a teammate, and the joy softball brought me also definitely translated to my college hockey career. I’ve come to learn that if I want to succeed I need to incorporate everything I have learned from every sport to hockey to make it an experience of a life time.”
Belinskas faced good competition at Williston during her tenure as their goalie, specifically against Winchedon. “We had to play them three times in a row to move on to the semifinals. It was nerve wracking; playing a team three times in a row is tough, but we played an amazing game and pulled out a win.” However, Belinskas’ semifinal loss against Lawrence Academy stuck. “We ended up losing in overtime, but it was the moment I learned I truly loved the game. The fight, hard work, determination, and the will to win that game made me realize why I stayed with the sport for so long and how I never want to stop playing.”
However, most important to Belinskas’ victory was her former coach. “Talbot was most definitely my biggest inspiration at Williston. As a coach she never took a day off. She always believed in us. We could be losing terribly, but she always pushed us to play at our best. Her intensity and positivity brought me confidence off and on the ice. I would never have become the person I am today without her.”
ELIZABETH CAPORALE ’16