For each of the past three seasons, The Hill girls’ hockey team has returned early from winter break to begin the new year with a trip to Watertown, Conn. to take on perennial New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association (NEPSIHA) Division I power Taft School. The Lady Blues made the trip north on Monday, January 4 searching for the program’s first win against the Rhinos.
After a scoreless first period, Hill found the back of the net four times in the middle frame to take a commanding 4-1 lead into the final period. Alexa Davis ’21 got the scoring started for Hill with an unassisted goal, followed quickly by a Liz MacMurray ’20 tally. Taft cut Hill’s lead in half, but Jordan Hower ’20 scored two goals late in the period to send Hill into the locker room up 4-1. Down but not out, Taft netted two goals in the third period to make it a one-goal game, but that was all the closer the hosts would get. Hill maintained the slim lead until the final buzzer to secure the 4-3 victory.
In addition to being the program’s first victory over Taft, the win also was the 100th career win for head coach Ari Baum. Baum arrived at The Hill in 2012 with the goal of not only rebuilding the girls’ hockey team but turning it into one of the premier New England programs. In his eight-plus years at the helm, Baum has steadily accomplished his goal. The victory over Taft adds to the continuously growing list of benchmark victories against New England competition for Hill and comes just weeks after another milestone win over Phillips Exeter Academy. In early December, Hill tied the 2019 NEPSIHA Champion Kent School which, while not a win, still serves as telling reminder of how quickly Hill has ascended into the upper echelon of New England prep hockey.
Posting consecutive 21-win seasons in 2018 and 2019, Hill currently sports a record of 8-1-3 against the most difficult schedule in program history. The team has peaked as high as eighth in the New England RPI rankings and currently sits tenth.