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2019-20 NCAA Preview: Freshmen To Watch

An exciting freshman class is coming to the NCAA this season

United States v Sweden - 2016 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship
Madeline Wethington #4 of Team USA passes the puck in a semifinal game against Team Sweden during the 2016 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships at the Meridian Centre on January 14, 2016 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

There’s a lot to be excited about this NCAA season, and the 2019-20 rookie class is at the top of that list. Here’s just a few of the top freshmen who could make some noise during their first season.

Alexie Guay, Boston College

Guay’s resume speaks for itself. The young defender has been on Canada’s U18 team twice, earning All-Star honors during both tournaments. She really shown in this most recent U18 tourney - she tallied the most points, goals, and assists by a defender, was named the best defender in the tournament, and picked up a gold medal while she was at it.

Though we don’t yet know what pairing Guay will play on, it’s not a stretch to say that we might see her and BC teammate Cayla Barnes playing together on Team USA sometime soon.

Hannah Bilka, Boston College

BC has not one, but TWO stars in the making. Bilka has been on the USA U18 team for two consecutive years, collecting both a gold and silver medal. She was also named one of the team’s top three players in the 2019 tournament.

BC is counting on the young forward from Texas to help with their offense, especially after losing their top four scorers from last season. From what we’ve seen, Bilka certainly has the skills to keep up with the rest of the NCAA.

Madeline Wethington, Minnesota

This three-time U18 gold medalist was named the WCHA’s rookie of the year in the USCHO’s preseason poll. A steady defender with plenty of height at 5’10”, Wethington should fit in just fine on Minnesota’s blueline, and is certainly someone to watch in the years to come.

Grace Shirley, Wisconsin

“Prepare for trouble, and make it double!”

You may already know Grace’s sister, Sophie, but the younger Shirley is more than capable of holding her own on the ice. She’s won two medals (one gold, one silver) at the U18 championships with Team Canada, and she’ll be playing alongside her sister at Wisconsin this year.

The Badgers are loaded again this season, so Grace may not be as noticeable as some of the older players, but rest assured, she’s someone to watch.

Katelyn Knoll, Northeastern

Over at Northeastern, Katelyn Knoll is another player from Team USA’s U18 team to watch. She’s participated in two U18 championships, winning a gold and silver with the US; during the most recent tournament, she was also named to the All-Star team and recognized as one of the top three players on her team.

Danielle Serdachny, Colgate

Danielle is one of several incoming freshmen at Colgate with international experience. She was most recently on Canada’s 2019 gold-medal winning U18 team, notching four points in five games; she was also named one of the top three players for Canada.

She also recently captained Team Alberta to a gold at the Canada Winter Games, besting fellow incoming freshman Alexie Guay in the final.

Julia Gosling, St. Lawrence

Another two-time member of Team Canada’s U18 squad, Gosling has collected a gold and bronze medal on the U18 stage and was named one of Canada’s top three players in the most recent tourney.

She just finished third overall in PWHL scoring in her final season with the London Devilettes, putting up 43 points in 27 games. Can her scoring touch translate to the NCAA level?

Honorable mentions

Raygan Kirk, Robert Morris University

Kirk might be a familiar name for those who watched the last U18 tournament - she burst on to the scene with Team Canada at the U18 championships last year, where she promptly won MVP of the tourney with a 2.24 GAA in four games played en route to a gold medal. Not a bad international debut.

Could she earn the starting role at RMU? That remains to be seen. Last year’s starting netminder, Lauren Bailey, has graduated, but backup Arielle Desmet is back for her sophomore season after playing in 10 contests last year. Desmet was solid in goal, posting a 1.94 GAA and .920 save percentage. Even if Kirk is just the backup, she could still impress in a limited role.

Nadia Mattivi, Boston University

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know much about Nadia Mattivi, but I will be FASCINATED to see how she does with BU this season.

Mattivi has won nearly everything with the Italian national team, and she’s not even 20 years old. She’s a FOUR-TIME member of the U18 Italian team, which competed in Division 1, Group B until 2018, when they won their tournament and were promoted to Division 1, Group A (they have since been relegated back down).

She’s also a four-time member of the Italian National Team (she is 19 YEARS OLD, JUST FOR SOME CONTEXT) and scored three points in the 2018 tournament, which Italy won, promoting them up to Division 1, Group A (they have since been relegated to Division 1, Group B).

Because that’s not enough, she also played with Linköping during the 2018-19 season, picking up nine points during her rookie year.

What can she do for BU? Only time will tell.